Theme Information

Each year, National History Day® frames students’ research within a historical theme. In fact, relationship to the theme is 20% of the judging criteria. The 2019-2020 theme is Breaking Barriers in History. Your topic may focus on any geographic area, historical period, event, group, or individual, but it must relate back to the annual theme. Understanding the historical significance and context of your topic will help you draw a connection to the theme. Use the resources below to learn more about this year’s theme.

2020 NHD Theme Book2020_NHD_logo_web

2020 NHD Theme Narrative

SEARCH—2020 Theme Graphic Organizer

NHD Theme Page

Theme Slide Show – Please e-mail michiganhistoryday@hsmichigan.org for access.

2020 Michigan Topics

The following topics were submitted by museum, education, and archive staff from across Michigan after reading the 2020 theme narrative for Breaking Barriers in History. Exploring the history of your town or state can be a challenge but it helps you gain a greater connection to your community. We encourage you to explore the topics below or find a topic in your own backyard. You can find lists of Historical Organizations in each district at hsmichigan.org/mhd/district-information/.

African American |Arab American | Art & Entertainment | Civil Rights | Exploration/Frontier | Labor | Military | Mining | Miscellaneous | Native American | Oral History | Political | Prohibition | Science | Sports |Transportation | Women’s History

African American

Topic: The Crosswhite Affair
Description: Fugitive slaves from Kentucky, Adam and Sarah Crosswhite, seemed to have found sanctuary in Marshall, Michigan. A few years after they settled into their new lives, slave catchers from Kentucky arrived to arrest them. This story is one of both breaking barriers – the underground railroad that broke barriers between “Slave States” and “Free States” to help people find their freedom – and building up barriers, as the townspeople of Marshall did to help the Crosswhites escape arrest.
Resources: Secondary sources are available in back issues of Michigan History magazine, as well as in blog posts and radio interviews from the Michigan History Center. Images are available at the Archives of Michigan and the court case (Giltner v. Gorham) is available online.

Topic: The Ossian Sweet Story
Description: Ossian Sweet was a man on the rise. Fresh out of medical school, the Florida native moved to Detroit in 1921 and set up a successful practice on Detroit’s East Side. Sweet moved with his family into a house in what was considered to be a white neighborhood, challenging the stark “color lines” and social barriers established by Detroit’s white population. The violence that ensued resulted in the Sweet family being tried for murder – a charge that was ultimately dropped.
Resources: Secondary sources including museum exhibits, a historical marker, radio interviews and blog posts are available through the Michigan History Center. Additional sources are available through the Internet Archive, various law schools, and Michigan History magazine. The court case People v. Ossian Sweet, Gladys Sweet, et. al. and People v. Henry Sweet can be accessed digitally from the University of Minnesota Law Library.

Topic: The Little Family in Lansing
Description: In the early 20th century, as white Lansing residents began to more actively enforce the social and legal barriers of segregated housing, Malcolm X’s parents Earl and Louise Little found themselves among the victims of this discrimination. In 1929, they were sued for buying property in what was considered a white neighborhood. The family eventually moved from the neighborhood and lived in other areas around Lansing, continuing to face similar persecution for their attempts to overcome the barriers of segregation.
Resources: Secondary sources including a historical marker, radio interviews and blog posts are available through the Michigan History Center. The decrees from the Ingham County Circuit Court ordering the family to vacate their home can be found in the Archives of Michigan. State Journal newspaper articles from the 1920s and 30s that discuss the Little family are available on microfilm at the Downtown Lansing Library.

Topic: Samuel Dunlap, WMU’s “Black Ghost”
Description: Sam Dunlap was one of Western Michigan University’s first African-American student athletes, attending school from 1915 to 1919. He was an outstanding player during his high school career in Benton Harbor and his speed earned him the nickname “Black Ghost,” but larger institutions did not recruit him because of his race. Even though he excelled at Western, lettering in multiple sports and setting many records that stood for decades, he still faced discrimination during his time as a student and his life after college.
Resources: Western Michigan University archival materials, Samuel Dunlap oral history. Location of sources: Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections; 1650 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, (269) 387-8490. E-mail arch-collect@wmich.edu or visit wmich.edu/library/zhang.

Topic: Pauline Byrd Johnson
Description: Pauline Byrd Johnson broke many barriers during her life. She was the first African-American woman to graduate from Kalamazoo College in 1926. She also became the first African-American teacher hired in the Kalamazoo Public Schools. After earning a graduate degree, she was sought after by numerous universities but she remained in Kalamazoo and was active in civic, civil rights, and social causes. As an active member of the Republican party, she sometimes approached these topics with a different perspective, putting her at odds with some of her contemporaries.
Resources: Pauline Byrd Johnson papers at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo Gazette files, Kalamazoo College will also have materials. Location of sources: Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections; 1650 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, (269) 387-8490. E-mail arch-collect@wmich.edu or visit wmich.edu/library/zhang.

Topic: Merze Tate
Description: Merze Tate attended Western State Teachers College and earned a teaching certificate and degree in the 1920s. Unable to find a teaching position at the high school level in Michigan because she was African American, she taught at a segregated high school in Indianapolis. From there, she completed her education at Oxford and Harvard and would go on to become a world traveler, representative of the U. S. State Department, and faculty member at Howard University.
Resources: Merze Tate papers, Western Michigan University archival materials. Location of sources: Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections; 1650 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, (269) 387-8490. E-mail arch-collect@wmich.edu or visit wmich.edu/library/zhang.

Topic: The Green Book for African American Travelers 1936 -1964
Description: Decades after the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery, African Americans continued to suffer unequal treatment, especially in the South but also in the northern states. African Americans driving long distances had to pack food to eat during the journey, sleep in cars overnight, and even bring buckets to use for bathroom breaks. Victor Green, a mailman, began producing a guidebook known as the Green Book to help African Americans travel. Each bound booklet (like a magazine) listed cities in each state with safe locations to stop for food, lodging, fuel, and repairs.
Resources: The Gilmore Car Museum’s Research Library and Archive in  Hickory Corners (GilmoreCarMuseum.org) holds a collection of photos, books, and digital copies of most of the Green Books issued as well as several Michigan related oral histories and videos.

Topic: Van Avery Drugstore Picket and Civil Rights in Kalamazoo
Description: In 1963, African Americans picketed a Kalamazoo drug store over the store’s refusal to hire African Americans even though they were a sizable customer base. It was one of the first civil rights protest in Kalamazoo and inspired additional protests and boycotts. Some argue that the Van Avery Picket brought about changing attitudes toward employing African Americans in the community and others have suggested that the picket set in motion events that would alter the demographics of the neighborhood where the store was located.
Resources: Kalamazoo Gazette Collection, Kalamazoo Gazette Collection, oral history transcriptions, there are also individuals in the community who could be interviewed. Location of sources: Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections; 1650 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, (269) 387-8490. E-mail arch-collect@wmich.edu or visit wmich.edu/library/zhang.

Topic: Kalamazoo School Desegregation Case (Oliver vs. Kalamazoo Board of Education)
Description: In 1968, a committee developed a plan to promote greater racial integration in the Kalamazoo Public Schools, which were highly segregated due to housing patterns and school locations. The proposed plan included busing to integrate the schools. Due to community hostility, the School Board ultimately adopted a voluntary open enrollment plan. The Kalamazoo NAACP filed suit to enforce the original proposal and in 1971 a Federal District Court Judge found the Kalamazoo schools to be unlawfully segregated and ordered the Kalamazoo Board of Education to proceed with the original desegregation plan. The resulting years have brought about profound changes in the Kalamazoo Public Schools, housing patterns, and race relations.
Resources: Kalamazoo Gazette Collection, Kalamazoo NAACP records, Edward Thompson Collection, Charles and Joan Van Zoeren Collection, there are also people in the community who could be interviewed. Location of Sources: Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections; 1650 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, (269) 387-8490. E-mail arch-collect@wmich.edu or visit wmich.edu/library/zhang.

Topic: The Gaines Family
Description: William Gaines and his family were early African-American settlers in Marquette.
Resources: Sources relating to this topic are held at the J.M. Longyear Research Library in the Marquette Regional History Center. The private research library is free to all K-12 students. Contact research librarian Beth Gruber for help on researching this topic. Beth can pull from the archives before you arrive to research, or work with you remotely. Contact beth@marquettehistory.org or 906-226-3571, (and mention Michigan History Day!).

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Arab American

Topic: Immigration and the Auto Industry
Description: Oral history interviews (audio and transcripts) about Arab Americans living in Dearborn and working in the Ford Motor Company factories.
Resources: Arab Americans and the Automobile: Voices from the Factory oral history collection is available at the Arab American National Museum Library and Resource Center and online at aanm.contentdm.oclc.org. Contact librarian Kirsten Terry-Murphy at kterrymurphy@accesscommunity.org or Curator of Collections Elyssa Bisoski at ebisoski@accesscommunity.org.

Topic: Couture in Detroit
Description: Artifacts and papers from Ruth Joyce, an Arab-American fashion designer based in Detroit in the 1950s and 1960s.
Resources: Ruth Joyce materials are available at the Arab American National Museum Library and Resources Center. Contact librarian Kirsten Terry-Murphy at kterrymurphy@accesscommunity.org or Curator of Collections Elyssa Bisoski at ebisoski@accesscommunity.org.

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Art & Entertainment

Topic: Couture in Detroit
Description: Artifacts and papers from Ruth Joyce, an Arab-American fashion designer based in Detroit in the 1950s and 1960s.
Resources: Ruth Joyce materials are available at the Arab American National Museum Library and Resources Center. Contact librarian Kirsten Terry-Murphy at kterrymurphy@accesscommunity.org or Curator of Collections Elyssa Bisoski at ebisoski@accesscommunity.org.

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Civil Rights

Topic: The Crosswhite Affair
Description: Fugitive slaves from Kentucky, Adam and Sarah Crosswhite, seemed to have found sanctuary in Marshall, Michigan. A few years after they settled into their new lives, slave catchers from Kentucky arrived to arrest them. This story is one of both breaking barriers – the underground railroad that broke barriers between “Slave States” and “Free States” to help people find their freedom – and building up barriers, as the townspeople of Marshall did to help the Crosswhites escape arrest.
Resources: Secondary sources are available in back issues of Michigan History magazine, as well as in blog posts and radio interviews from the Michigan History Center. Images are available at the Archives of Michigan and the court case (Giltner v. Gorham) is available online.

Topic: The Ossian Sweet Story
Description: Ossian Sweet was a man on the rise. Fresh out of medical school, the Florida native moved to Detroit in 1921 and set up a successful practice on Detroit’s East Side. Sweet moved with his family into a house in what was considered to be a white neighborhood, challenging the stark “color lines” and social barriers established by Detroit’s white population. The violence that ensued resulted in the Sweet family being tried for murder – a charge that was ultimately dropped.
Resources: Secondary sources including museum exhibits, a historical marker, radio interviews and blog posts are available through the Michigan History Center. Additional sources are available through the Internet Archive, various law schools, and Michigan History magazine. The court case People v. Ossian Sweet, Gladys Sweet, et. al. and People v. Henry Sweet can be accessed digitally from the University of Minnesota Law Library.

Topic: The Little Family in Lansing
Description: In the early 20th century, as white Lansing residents began to more actively enforce the social and legal barriers of segregated housing, Malcolm X’s parents Earl and Louise Little found themselves among the victims of this discrimination. In 1929, they were sued for buying property in what was considered a white neighborhood. The family eventually moved from the neighborhood and lived in other areas around Lansing, continuing to face similar persecution for their attempts to overcome the barriers of segregation.
Resources: Secondary sources including a historical marker, radio interviews and blog posts are available through the Michigan History Center. The decrees from the Ingham County Circuit Court ordering the family to vacate their home can be found in the Archives of Michigan. State Journal newspaper articles from the 1920s and 30s that discuss the Little family are available on microfilm at the Downtown Lansing Library.

Topic: Pauline Byrd Johnson
Description: Pauline Byrd Johnson broke many barriers during her life. She was the first African-American woman to graduate from Kalamazoo College in 1926. She also became the first African-American teacher hired in the Kalamazoo Public Schools. After earning a graduate degree, she was sought after by numerous universities but she remained in Kalamazoo and was active in civic, civil rights, and social causes. As an active member of the Republican party, she sometimes approached these topics with a different perspective, putting her at odds with some of her contemporaries.
Resources: Pauline Byrd Johnson papers at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo Gazette files, Kalamazoo College will also have materials. Location of sources: Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections; 1650 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, (269) 387-8490. E-mail arch-collect@wmich.edu or visit wmich.edu/library/zhang.

Topic: The Green Book for African American Travelers 1936 -1964
Description: Decades after the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery, African Americans continued to suffer unequal treatment, especially in the South but also in the northern states. African Americans driving long distances had to pack food to eat during the journey, sleep in cars overnight, and even bring buckets to use for bathroom breaks. Victor Green, a mailman, began producing a guidebook known as the Green Book to help African Americans travel. Each bound booklet (like a magazine) listed cities in each state with safe locations to stop for food, lodging, fuel, and repairs.
Resources: The Gilmore Car Museum’s Research Library and Archive in  Hickory Corners (GilmoreCarMuseum.org) holds a collection of photos, books, and digital copies of most of the Green Books issued as well as several Michigan related oral histories and videos.

Topic: Van Avery Drugstore Picket and Civil Rights in Kalamazoo
Description: In 1963, African Americans picketed a Kalamazoo drug store over the store’s refusal to hire African Americans even though they were a sizable customer base. It was one of the first civil rights protests in Kalamazoo and inspired additional protests and boycotts. Some argue that the Van Avery Picket brought about changing attitudes toward employing African Americans in the community and others have suggested that the picket set in motion events that would alter the demographics of the neighborhood where the store was located.
Resources: Kalamazoo Gazette Collection, Kalamazoo Gazette Collection, oral history transcriptions, there are also individuals in the community who could be interviewed. Location of sources: Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections; 1650 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, (269) 387-8490. E-mail arch-collect@wmich.edu or visit wmich.edu/library/zhang.

Topic: Kalamazoo School Desegregation Case (Oliver vs. Kalamazoo Board of Education)
Description: In 1968, a committee developed a plan to promote greater racial integration in the Kalamazoo Public Schools, which were highly segregated due to housing patterns and school locations. The proposed plan included busing to integrate the schools. Due to community hostility, the School Board ultimately adopted a voluntary open enrollment plan. The Kalamazoo NAACP filed suit to enforce the original proposal and in 1971 a Federal District Court Judge found the Kalamazoo schools to be unlawfully segregated and ordered the Kalamazoo Board of Education to proceed with the original desegregation plan. The resulting years have brought about profound changes in the Kalamazoo Public Schools, housing patterns, and race relations.
Resources: Kalamazoo Gazette Collection, Kalamazoo NAACP records, Edward Thompson Collection, Charles and Joan Van Zoeren Collection, there are also people in the community who could be interviewed. Location of Sources: Kalamazoo Gazette Collection, Kalamazoo NAACP records, Edward Thompson Collection, Charles and Joan Van Zoeren Collection, there are also people in the community who could be interviewed. Location of Sources: Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections; 1650 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, (269) 387-8490. E-mail arch-collect@wmich.edu or visit wmich.edu/library/zhang.

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Exploration/Frontier

Topic: Madame LaFramboise
Description: Madame LaFramboise became a prominent figure as a female heading a fur trade company in the early 1800s after her husband was killed. She was also a leader in the community of Mackinac Island and around Michigan, a proponent of early education, and liaison between cultures during the fur trade era.
Resources: Magdelaine Laframboise: The First Lady of Mackinac Island by Keith Widder, visiting Ste. Anne’s Church on Mackinac Island, seeing former residence (now Harbour View Inn—seasonal) on Mackinac Island, various publications through libraries, and contacting research library in Mackinaw City at (231) 436-4100.

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Labor

Topic: Flint Sit-Down Strike
Description: The 1936–1937 Flint sit-down strike was organized by the UAW against General Motors. It helped the UAW became a major labor union and contributed to the unionization of the automobile industry in the United States. During this strike, workers created barriers – both physical and ideological – that the automobile industry was forced to reckon with in order to resume productivity.
Resources: Artifacts from the strike are on display at the Michigan History Museum. Additional information is available through the Walter Reuther Library. Oral history interviews with strike participants were collected by the Labor History Project at UM-Flint and are available online.

Topic: Kalamazoo Corset Workers Strike
Description: Female employees of the Kalamazoo Corset Company began a labor strike on March 2, 1912, over poor wages, long hours, and sexual harassment. This picket gained the sympathies of the community and also gained national attention. A contract was approved later in the year which brought about improved working conditions and modest financial gains.
Resources: Kalamazoo Gazette Collection, Kalamazoo NAACP records, Edward Thompson Collection, Charles and Joan Van Zoeren Collection, there are also people in the community who could be interviewed. Location of Sources: Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections; 1650 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, (269) 387-8490. E-mail arch-collect@wmich.edu or visit wmich.edu/library/zhang.

Topic: Immigration and the Auto Industry
Description: Oral history interviews (audio and transcripts) about Arab Americans living in Dearborn and working in the Ford Motor Company factories.
Resources: Arab Americans and the Automobile: Voices from the Factory oral history collection is available at the Arab American National Museum Library and Resource Center and online at aanm.contentdm.oclc.org. Contact librarian Kirsten Terry-Murphy at kterrymurphy@accesscommunity.org or Curator of Collections Elyssa Bisoski at ebisoski@accesscommunity.org.

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Military

Topic: Company K of the First Michigan Sharpshooters
Description: Company K was made up of 139 enlisted Anishnaabe men and one officer from the lower and upper peninsulas. The company tried to muster at the beginning of the Civil War but were denied. Barriers they faced included stereotypes about native peoples. Eventually, the Army reversed its stance and decided to allow native peoples, including those in Company K, to enter the armed forces.
Resources: Secondary sources including radio interviews are available from the Michigan History Center. Images are available through the Archives of Michigan and related artifacts are housed in the Michigan History Museum collections. A documentary is available through PBS.

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Mining

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Miscellaneous

Topic: Albert Ewert: Advocate for Change
Description: Reverend Albert M. Ewert was the chaplain at the Michigan State Prison in Jackson Michigan from 1933-1935 and was part of a national prison reform movement. He pushed back (not always successfully) against barriers like fear and societal norms around prisons to introduce arts programs and new ideas about education and rehabilitation to the Michigan penal system.
Resources: Photographs, artwork and documents from Albert Ewert can be found in the Manuscript Collections at the Archives of Michigan. An exhibit about Albert Ewert is on temporary display at the Cell Block 7 Museum in Jackson. Secondary sources (blog posts and radio interviews) are also available from the Michigan History Center.

Topic: Leader Dogs for the Blind
Description: Leader Dogs for the Blind was started in 1939 by members of the Uptown Lions Club of Detroit. The founders hoped to empower the visually impaired with skills for safe and independent daily travel. This was not the first guide dog school in the United States, but it was the first in Michigan. The school is still active today and offers all of its services free of charge.
Resources: Leader Dogs for the Blind website (www.leaderdog.org) and articles in Michigan History and Michigan History for Kids magazines. Contact michiganhistoryday@hsmichigan.org for more sources.

Topic: Bay Cliff Health Camp
Description: The camp was started last century in Marquette and still continues today as an active health camp for children with physical disabilities. Started by two women who saw a need, a doctor and a nurse, the camp encourages people to work towards goals of increased independence and living a fuller life.
Resources: Primary sources and often photographs relating to this topic are held at the J.M. Longyear Research Library in the Marquette Regional History Center. The private research library is free to all K-12 students. Contact research librarian Beth Gruber for help on researching this topic. Beth can pull from the archives before you arrive for research, or work with you remotely. Contact beth@marquettehistory.org or call (906) 226-3571. Make sure to mention Michigan History Day! You can also visit www.baycliff.org/about-us/.

Additional Topics

Enoch and Deborah Harris—Triumphed over obstacles to be the first African-American settlers in Kalamazoo County (1830s)

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Native American

Topic: Company K of the First Michigan Sharpshooters
Description: Company K was made up of 139 enlisted Anishnaabe men and one officer from the lower and upper peninsulas. The company tried to muster at the beginning of the Civil War but were denied. Barriers they faced included stereotypes about native peoples. Eventually, the Army reversed its stance and decided to allow native peoples, including those in Company K, to enter the armed forces.
Resources: Secondary sources including radio interviews are available from the Michigan History Center. Images are available through the Archives of Michigan and related artifacts are housed in the Michigan History Museum collections. A documentary is available through PBS.

Topic: Indian Removal Act of 1830—Anishinaabek removal to Kansas and Oklahoma and the triumph of the Odawak retaining their Waganakising territory.
Description: Despite federal policies mandating Indian removal, the Waganakising Odawak stayed in their territory. The resiliency of the people and great efforts of a local leader made this possible. Augustin Hamlin, also known as Kanapima, was instrumental in treaty negotiation interpreting.
Resources: 1. Our Land and Culture: A 200 Year History of Our Land Use. Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, 2005. www.ltbbodawa-nsn.gov/Arch/Our%20Land%20and%20Culture%20for%20web.pdf. 2. Cleland, Charles E. Rites of Conquest: the History and Culture of Michigan’s Native Americans. University of Michigan Press, 1992. 3. Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Repatriation, Archives and Records Department, (231) 242-1450 or www.ltbbodawa-nsn.gov/Arch/Archives.html. Additional information can be found at www.petoskeyarea.com/media-information/area-history/odawa-indians/.

Topic: Indian Boarding Schools in Michigan (Holy Childhood, Harbor Springs, and Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School/Sisters of St. Joseph, Baraga)
Description: Beginning in the 1880s, Native children were forced into boarding schools by the U.S. government. Boarding schools were created to assimilate Native Americans, and many were governed by the philosophy stated by Richard Henry Pratt, “Kill the Indian, save the man.” Pratt was the founder and superintendent of the first Federal Indian boarding school, Carlisle Indian Industrial School, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Native children could not speak their Native languages or practice their traditions, lifeways, and spirituality.  Michigan had three boarding schools, one federally mandated, and two were operated by religious institutions. The last boarding school for Native youth in Michigan was in operation until 1983 (Holy Childhood, Harbor Springs).
Resources:
“Baraga County.” Baraga County MI Genealogy on the Web, www.migenweb.org/baraga/history/1883historyupperpenin_2.html.
Source: History of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan: containing a full account of its early settlement, its growth, development, and resources, an extended description of its iron and copper mines: also, accurate sketches of its counties, cities, towns, and villages … biographical sketches, portraits of prominent men and early settlers. Chicago, IL: Western Historical Co., 1883.

Bear, Charla. “American Indian Boarding Schools Haunt Many.” NPR.org, Morning Edition, 12 May 2008, www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=16516865?storyId=16516865.

“Boarding School.” Boarding School: Curriculum Guide, Resources, Teacher Worksheets/Lesson Plans, Agent of Change, Ziibiwing Center – Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan, www.sagchip.org/ziibiwing/planyourvisit/boardingschool/index2.htm.

Brookings Institution. The Problem of Indian Administration: Report of a Survey made at the request of Honorable Hubert Work, Secretary of the Interior, and submitted to him, February 21, 1928 (Baltimore, Md., The Johns Hopkins Press, 1928), www.eric.ed.gov/PDFS/ED087573.pdf.

Child, Brenda J. Boarding School Seasons: American Indian Families, 1900-1940. University of Nebraska Press, 2012.

Edwards, Lissa. “To Educate the Indian.” MyNorth.com, 29 Mar. 2017, mynorth.com/2017/03/mt-pleasant-indian-school/.

Hemenway, Eric. “Indian Children Forced to Assimilate at White Boarding Schools (U.S. National Park Service).” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, www.nps.gov/articles/boarding-schools.htm.

KUED PBS – University of Utah. “Unspoken: America’s Native American Boarding Schools.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 16 Feb. 2016, www.pbs.org/video/unspoken-americas-native-american-boarding-schools-oobt1r/.

Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians—Repatriation, Archives, and Records Department (231) 242-1450, photos of items from the Holy Childhood School available, www.ltbbodawa-nsn.gov/Arch/Archives.html

Topic: Laughing Whitefish
Description: The story of a Native-American woman, Laughing Whitefish, fighting for her family’s mineral rights in the Upper Peninsula in the late 1800s. The novel by the same name, written by John Voelker, is ground breaking and used by many Native American Law School students in the State of Michigan.
Resources: Sources relating to this topic are held at the J.M. Longyear Research Library in the Marquette Regional History Center. The private research library is free to all K-12 students. Contact research librarian Beth Gruber for help on researching this topic. Beth can pull from the archives before you arrive to research, or work with you remotely. Contact beth@marquettehistory.org or 906-226-3571, (and mention Michigan History Day!).

Topic: Thomas Cornelius/Thomas Nahbenayash
Description: Cornelius/Nahbenayash was an early Native-American Methodist Minister in the Upper Peninsula in the late 1800s.
Resources: Sources relating to this topic are held at the J.M. Longyear Research Library in the Marquette Regional History Center. The private research library is free to all K-12 students. Contact research librarian Beth Gruber for help on researching this topic. Beth can pull from the archives before you arrive to research, or work with you remotely. Contact beth@marquettehistory.org or 906-226-3571, (and mention Michigan History Day!).

Topic:  Reaffirmation of the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and the Little River Bands of Ottawa Indians in 1994 (Pub.L. 103-324)
Description: After the 1836 and 1855 treaties were signed, the promises of goods and monetary allotments were nearly never fulfilled. After treaties were signed, the Odawa no longer had jurisdiction over their traditional territories and they had difficulties practicing their traditional lifeways, despite the 1836 treaty stating they would reserve hunting and fishing rights upon ceding. The Odawak organized to sue the U.S. government due to not fulfilling agreements stated within the treaties. Nearly 100 years had passed, and the Federal government refused to recognize them the inherent rights of the Odawak.  Three main groups worked together to unite the Odawa people politically in the 1930s and 1940s—The Michigan Indian Defense Association (est. 1933), The Michigan Indian Foundation (est. 1947), and the Northern Michigan Ottawa Association (NMOA) (est. 1948). Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians (LTBB) first organized under NMOA as Unit 1. LTBB as Unit 1 tried to put forth Federal court hearings about treaty rights relating to fishing, although the Federal government would not recognize them because they were an organization and not a government. In 1982, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa officially re-organized with the name, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. LTBB went back to Federal courts and they were denied again because they were not a Federally Recognized tribe. LTBB leaders thought it was important to be Federally recognized through reaffirmation, rather than establishing a new form of recognition. LTBB leaders believed they should not only be recognized but reaffirmed because historically they were Federally recognized as a sovereign nation during treaty negotiations and signing. Through intensive work of LTBB tribal leaders and allies, in September 1994, President Clinton signed a bill that gave LTBB and Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Federal recognition through reaffirmation.
Resources:
Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians—Repatriation, Archives, and Records Department (231) 242-1450

Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians. Our Land and Culture: A 200 Year History of Our Land Use. Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, 2005, www.ltbbodawa-nsn.gov/Arch/Our%20Land%20and%20Culture%20for%20web.pdf.

Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians Repatriation, Archives and Records Department. A Tribal History Of The Little Traverse Bay Bands Of Odawa Indians. Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, www.ltbbodawa-nsn.gov/TribalHistory.html.

“Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians and the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Act (1994 – S. 1357).” GovTrack.us, www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/103/s1357

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Oral History

Topic: Using Oral History for your MHD Project
Description: Most Michigan History Day projects will be enhanced by interviewing an expert in the field or someone who experienced the event. Learn to ask questions and interact with community members.
Resources: Senior citizens, librarians, archivist, museum workers, and even parents may know some interesting details about your topic. Visit michiganoha.org/ to learn more.

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Political

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Prohibition

Topic: Kalamazoo, the Volstead Act (Prohibition), and Control of Alcohol Consumption
Description: Kalamazoo struggled like many communities to enforce laws concerning the use and sale of alcohol. With the national prohibition brought about by the Volstead Act, Kalamazoo had a vice unit that investigated the illegal creation, use, and distribution of alcohol. When the Volstead Act was repealed, Kalamazoo sought to control the sale and consumption of alcohol by restricting its use to private clubs. This local ordinance was eventually repealed in the early 1960s.
Resources: Orville Sternberg Journals, Charles and Joan Van Zoeren Collection, Kalamazoo Junior Chamber of Commerce Collection, Kalamazoo Gazette Collection. Location of Sources: Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections, 1650 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49008. (269) 387-8490. E-mail arch-collect@wmich.edu or visit www.wmich.edu/library/collections/digitized.

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Science

Medicine

Topic: St. Martin/Beaumont Experiments
Description: When a life-threatening accidental wound in the early 1800s was treated by an inquisitive doctor, the results became monumental in the world of medicine. Dr. Beaumont’s treatment and experiments and Alexis St. Martin’s bearing with time and resolve made gastronomical history starting on Mackinac Island.
Resources: Books: Frontier Doctor by Reginald Horsemen, Dr. William Beaumont: The Mackinac Years by Keith Widder, Experiments and Observations on the Gastric Juice and the Physiology of Digestion by William Beaumont. Other sources may be found at the William Beaumont Hospital or the American Fur Company Retail Store/ Dr. Beaumont Museum on Mackinac Island. For more information or research support, call (231) 436-4100.

Topic: William E. Upjohn and the Friable Pill
Description: Most medicines of the nineteenth century did little or no good to help bring about cures or relief from medical problems because they were not digested by the human body. Dr. Upjohn patented a form of pill that was designed to be easily digested. He called this a “friable pill” which could be easily reduced to a powder, making it possible for medicine to be digested by the human body. He eventually founded the Upjohn Pill and Granule Company in Kalamazoo in 1886.
Resources: Upjohn Company Records, Kalamazoo Gazette Collection. Location of Sources: Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections, 1650 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49008. (269) 387-8490. E-mail arch-collect@wmich.edu or visit www.wmich.edu/library/collections/digitized.

Topic: Bay Cliff Health Camp
Description: The camp was started last century in Marquette and still continues today as an active health camp for children with physical disabilities. Started by two women who saw a need, a doctor and a nurse, the camp encourages people to work towards goals of increased independence and living a fuller life.
Resources: Primary sources and often photographs relating to this topic are held at the J.M. Longyear Research Library in the Marquette Regional History Center. The private research library is free to all K-12 students. Contact research librarian Beth Gruber for help on researching this topic. Beth can pull from the archives before you arrive for research, or work with you remotely. Contact beth@marquettehistory.org or call (906) 226-3571. Make sure to mention Michigan History Day! You can also visit www.baycliff.org/about-us/.

Additional Topics

Topic: Glenn Seaborg, Nobel Prize Chemist
Description: Glenn Seaborg was born in Ishpeming, Michigan, the grandson of Swedish immigrants, who went on to become a researcher and professor at the University of California, Berkeley and led research into the development of plutonium. He later was involved in the Manhattan Project and in the 1960s served as the Chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission. He shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1951 with Edwin McMillan for “their discoveries in the chemistry of the first transuranium elements.
Resources: His papers, photographs and books are all available at the Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives, www.nmu.edu/archives/home-page.

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Sports

Topic: Samuel Dunlap, WMU’s “Black Ghost”
Description: Sam Dunlap was one of Western Michigan University’s first African-American student athletes, attending school from 1915 to 1919. He was an outstanding player during his high school career in Benton Harbor and his speed earned him the nickname “Black Ghost,” but larger institutions did not recruit him because of his race. Even though he excelled at Western, lettering in multiple sports and setting many records that stood for decades, he still faced discrimination during his time as a student and his life after college.
Resources: Western Michigan University archival materials, Samuel Dunlap oral history. Location of sources: Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections; 1650 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, (269) 387-8490. E-mail arch-collect@wmich.edu or visit wmich.edu/library/zhang.

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Transportation

Automotive

Topic: The Green Book for African American Travelers 1936 -1964
Description: Decades after the Emancipation Proclamation and the Thirteenth Amendment ended slavery, African Americans continued to suffer unequal treatment, especially in the South but also in the northern states. African Americans driving long distances had to pack food to eat during the journey, sleep in cars overnight, and even bring buckets to use for bathroom breaks. Victor Green, a mailman, began producing a guidebook known as the Green Book to help African Americans travel. Each bound booklet (like a magazine) listed cities in each state with safe locations to stop for food, lodging, fuel, and repairs.
Resources: The Gilmore Car Museum’s Research Library and Archive in  Hickory Corners (GilmoreCarMuseum.org) holds a collection of photos, books, and digital copies of most of the Green Books issued as well as several Michigan related oral histories and videos.

Topic: The Tucker Automobile of 1948
Description: Preston Tucker of Ypsilanti introduced the Tucker Automobile of 1948. This futuristic post World War II car had a rear engine and introduced many safety features later mandated in 1966. The popular car was brought down by federal fraud charges after only 50 cars were produced. During the trial, the company was found innocent but it was too late.  Of the 50 cars produced, 47 remain today and the collector value is well over $1.5 million. The story of the Tucker Automobile was featured in a full-length film in 1988.
Resources: The Gilmore Car Museum’s Research Library and Archive in  Hickory Corners (GilmoreCarMuseum.org) holds a large archive collection of the Tucker automobile, including corporate documents, sales materials, trial documents, newspaper files, dealer files, and histories of each car.

Topic: Immigration and the Auto Industry
Description: Oral history interviews (audio and transcripts) about Arab Americans living in Dearborn and working in the Ford Motor Company factories.
Resources: Arab Americans and the Automobile: Voices from the Factory oral history collection is available at the Arab American National Museum Library and Resource Center and online at aanm.contentdm.oclc.org. Contact librarian Kirsten Terry-Murphy at kterrymurphy@accesscommunity.org or Curator of Collections Elyssa Bisoski at ebisoski@accesscommunity.org.

Aviation

Topic: Harriet Quimby
Description: Harriet Quimby received the first aviation license granted to an American woman on August 1, 1911. The Arcadia, Michigan native was the first woman to fly solo across the English Channel. She worked as a reporter and writer and died in a plane crash on July 1, 1912, three months after her historic crossing of the English Channel.
Resources: Arcadia Area Historical Museum (arcadiami.com/), National Aviation Hall of Fame (www.nationalaviation.org/our-enshrinees/quimby-harriet/).

Maritime/Water

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Women’s History

Topic: Madame LaFramboise
Description: Madame LaFramboise became a prominent figure as a female heading a fur trade company in the early 1800s after her husband was killed. She was also a leader in the community of Mackinac Island and around Michigan, a proponent of early education, and liaison between cultures during the fur trade era.
Resources: Magdelaine Laframboise: The First Lady of Mackinac Island by Keith Widder, visiting Ste. Anne’s Church on Mackinac Island, seeing former residence (now Harbour View Inn—seasonal) on Mackinac Island, various publications through libraries, and contacting research library in Mackinaw City at (231) 436-4100.

Topic: Harlow Diaries
Description: Olive and Ellen Harlow were Marquette pioneers. The diaries of two of the first Euro-American women in the region share what life was like in the mid 1800s.
Resources: Primary sources and often photographs relating to this topic are held at the J.M. Longyear Research Library in the Marquette Regional History Center. The private research library is free to all K-12 students. Contact research librarian Beth Gruber for help on researching this topic. Beth can pull from the archives before you arrive for research, or work with you remotely. Contact beth@marquettehistory.org or call (906) 226-3571. Make sure to mention Michigan History Day!

Topic: Madelon Stockwell Turner
Description: Prior to 1870, women were not admitted as students at the University of Michigan. Madelon Stockwell of Kalamazoo studied privately with Lucinda Hinsdale Stone and was prepared when she was admitted to the University in 1870 to study advanced work in Greek. She graduated with her degree in 1872 and returned to Kalamazoo.
Resources: Published diary and newspaper clippings at Western Michigan University. Another source could be the Bentley Library at the University of Michigan. Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections; 1650 Oakland Drive; Kalamazoo, MI 49008 (269) 387-8490. E-mail arch-collect@wmich.edu or visit wmich.edu/library/zhang.

Topic: Caroline Bartlett Crane
Description: Caroline Bartlett Crane broke many barriers during her life. She worked as a newspaper reporter in the 1880s. She was not satisfied with this career and longed to become a minister and after getting her father’s approval, she pursued her studies in the 1890s. She was the first female minister hired by a Unitarian church in Kalamazoo. During her time as the minister of People’s Church, she started some of the first Kindergarten and manual training programs in Kalamazoo. She also married which was not common for women pursuing careers in the 1890s.
Resources: Caroline Bartlett Crane papers at Western Michigan University. Location of Sources: Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections, Kalamazoo and Kalamazoo College Archives. Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections; 1650 Oakland Drive; Kalamazoo, MI 49008 (269) 387-8490. E-mail arch-collect@wmich.edu or visit wmich.edu/library/zhang.

Topic: Laughing Whitefish
Description: The story of a Native-American woman, Laughing Whitefish, fighting for her family’s mineral rights in the Upper Peninsula in the late 1800s. The novel by the same name, written by John Voelker, is ground breaking and used by many Native American Law School students in the State of Michigan.
Resources: Sources relating to this topic are held at the J.M. Longyear Research Library in the Marquette Regional History Center. The private research library is free to all K-12 students. Contact research librarian Beth Gruber for help on researching this topic. Beth can pull from the archives before you arrive to research, or work with you remotely. Contact beth@marquettehistory.org or 906-226-3571, (and mention Michigan History Day!).

Topic: Harriet Quimby
Description: Harriet Quimby received the first aviation license granted to an American woman on August 1, 1911. The Arcadia, Michigan native was the first woman to fly solo across the English Channel. She worked as a reporter and writer and died in a plane crash on July 1, 1912, three months after her historic crossing of the English Channel.
Resources: Arcadia Area Historical Museum (arcadiami.com/), National Aviation Hall of Fame (www.nationalaviation.org/our-enshrinees/quimby-harriet/).

Topic: Kalamazoo Corset Workers Strike
Description: Female employees of the Kalamazoo Corset Company began a labor strike on March 2, 1912, over poor wages, long hours, and sexual harassment. This picket gained the sympathies of the community and also gained national attention. A contract was approved later in the year which brought about improved working conditions and modest financial gains.
Resources: Kalamazoo Gazette Collection, Kalamazoo NAACP records, Edward Thompson Collection, Charles and Joan Van Zoeren Collection, there are also people in the community who could be interviewed. Location of Sources: Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections; 1650 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, (269) 387-8490. E-mail arch-collect@wmich.edu or visit wmich.edu/library/zhang.

Topic: Abby Roberts
Description: Abby Roberts helped to found the Women’s Welfare Club of Marquette and worked for suffrage in northern Michigan and the Midwest.
Resources: Sources relating to this topic are held at the J.M. Longyear Research Library in the Marquette Regional History Center. The private research library is free to all K-12 students. Contact research librarian Beth Gruber for help on researching this topic. Beth can pull from the archives before you arrive to research, or work with you remotely. Contact beth@marquettehistory.org or 906-226-3571, (and mention Michigan History Day!).

Topic: Pauline Byrd Johnson
Description: Pauline Byrd Johnson broke many barriers during her life. She was the first African-American woman to graduate from Kalamazoo College in 1926. She also became the first African-American teacher hired in the Kalamazoo Public Schools. After earning a graduate degree, she was sought after by numerous universities but she remained in Kalamazoo and was active in civic, civil rights, and social causes. As an active member of the Republican party, she sometimes approached these topics with a different perspective, putting her at odds with some of her contemporaries.
Resources: Pauline Byrd Johnson papers at Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo Gazette files, Kalamazoo College will also have materials. Location of sources: Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections; 1650 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, (269) 387-8490. E-mail arch-collect@wmich.edu or visit wmich.edu/library/zhang.

Topic: Merze Tate
Description: Merze Tate attended Western State Teachers College and earned a teaching certificate and degree in the 1920s. Unable to find a teaching position at the high school level in Michigan because she was African American, she taught at a segregated high school in Indianapolis. From there, she completed her education at Oxford and Harvard and would go on to become a world traveler, representative of the U. S. State Department, and faculty member at Howard University.
Resources: Merze Tate papers, Western Michigan University archival materials. Location of sources: Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections; 1650 Oakland Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, (269) 387-8490. E-mail arch-collect@wmich.edu or visit wmich.edu/library/zhang.

Topic: Honor Bodelin
Description: The work Honor Bodelin did in log camps, on the railroad, and with Lake Shore Engineering was considered “mens” work in the 1940s. Her story may not be enough for a project but it could be combined with the stories of other women who broke barriers to hold similar jobs as men.
Resources: Sources relating to this topic are held at the J.M. Longyear Research Library in the Marquette Regional History Center. The private research library is free to all K-12 students. Contact research librarian Beth Gruber for help on researching this topic. Beth can pull from the archives before you arrive to research, or work with you remotely. Contact beth@marquettehistory.org or 906-226-3571, (and mention Michigan History Day!).

Topic: Anna Minerva Chandler
Description: First woman to serve as school superintendent in Marquette.
Resources: Sources relating to this topic are held at the J.M. Longyear Research Library in the Marquette Regional History Center. The private research library is free to all K-12 students. Contact research librarian Beth Gruber for help on researching this topic. Beth can pull from the archives before you arrive to research, or work with you remotely. Contact beth@marquettehistory.org or 906-226-3571, (and mention Michigan History Day!).

Topic: Couture in Detroit
Description: Artifacts and papers from Ruth Joyce, an Arab-American fashion designer based in Detroit in the 1950s and 1960s.
Resources: Ruth Joyce materials are available at the Arab American National Museum Library and Resources Center. Contact librarian Kirsten Terry-Murphy at kterrymurphy@accesscommunity.org or Curator of Collections Elyssa Bisoski at ebisoski@accesscommunity.org.

Additional Topics

Lucinda Hinsdale Stone’s work for women’s rights from 1840 to 1900
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Thank you to the following contributors!
Tammy Barnes, Kalamazoo Valley Museum
Elyssa Bisoski, Arab American National Museum
Christopher Blaker, Historical Society of Michigan
Jim Cameron, Michigan Oral History Association
Sharon Carlson, Archives and Regional History Collections, Western Michigan University
Jay Follis, Gilmore Car Museum
Sara Gross, Michigan History Center
Katherine Mallory, Mackinac State Historic Parks
Betsy Rutz, Marquette Regional History Center
Kirsten Terry-Murphy, Arab American National Museum
Dan Truckey, Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center-Northern Michigan University
Tobi Voigt, Michigan History Center
Amanda Weinert, Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians

 

 

Historical Society of Michigan 7435 Westshire Dr., Lansing MI 48917
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