Sunday, August 23, 2015

Off The Streets And Onto The Syllabus: Baltimore and The Freddie Gray Course

Detroit, Mich. By Nick Gregory
I teach American Government and American Legal Systems and this NPR story (4 minutes) hits on increased student demand for education related to current issues. The class is intended to help law students understand the recent Baltimore riots and other urban challenges within a broader context. 

In the interview University of Maryland Law Professor Michael Greenberger provides a rationale for the class. This seems like the type of class that could help people see the big picture and begin to ask serious questions about the why and how of the recent #BlackLivesMatter movement and many other topics. Challenges with crime, policing, housing, employment and policies that encourage segregation are not topics unique to Baltimore. 

For more insight on these topics, I highly recommend,  The Origins of the Urban Crisis by Thomas Sugrue. This book sparked my intellectual curiosity about Detroit and served as a great source of inspiration in my story-telling about Detroit. (Link: My Detroit Photo Essays published on-line )

As an avid Detroit enthusiast, I wish I had been offered the opportunity to enroll in a college class about The Motor City when I was at Michigan State University or Eastern Michigan University. I grew up in the mitten and I never learned about Detroit beyond the automobile. When I discovered in 2005 this "untold Detroit history" I was amazed at how much was left out of my education as an undergrad preparing for my secondary teaching certification in social studies. 

To learn more, check these links: 

Detroit, A History of Segregation in the format of a photo essay (read the captions): Split Photo Essay about Detroit by Nick Gregory      

The Arc of Justice By Kevin Boyle.  A Must Read for anyone serious about Detroit History

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