A Celebration of Black History in Madison
This collaborative effort between the Madison Historical Society, Drew University and Madison High School examined the roots of African-American settlement in Madison and the struggle of recent generations to overcome prejudice and racial discrimination during the Civil Rights era.A Collaboration with Drew UniversityStudents from Drew University's "Case Study in Black Entrepreneurship" course conducted oral history interviews with prominent members of the African-American community. The focus of these sessions was on the many black owned businesses in town and the challenges faced by these entrepreneurs. One student from Drew was assigned to assist students enrolled in Dr. DeBiasse's USI class in researching the local scene during the Civil Rights movement, focusing on the visit of Martin Luther King to Drew's campus and the subsequent protest against a Park Avenue barbershop that refused to serve black customers.Working in collaboration with Drew University, MHS students prepared Civil Rights era display boards for a community-wide event held on March 23, 2006.Click here for more student photos from the community event.A Program for the CommunityThe entire community was invited to learn more about the African-American experience in Madison at the March 23, 2006 event held at the Grace Episcopal Church. Dr. Leonard Bethel gave a lecture on the migration of blacks into the Morris County area and highlighted some of the early settlements. Following his presentation, Drew University students introduced panel members who they had interviewed as part of their course work. Dr. Jo Anne Murphy then facilitated a panel discussion which highlighted some of the challenges each individual faced as they worked to raise a family in our community.A Continuing ProgramThe documentation of the history of our community is an ongoing mission of the Madison Historical Society. Last year students began interviewing community members who recalled their experiences during the Vietnam War era. A video documentary prepared using footage from these interviews was shown at the Historical Society meeting on April 20, 2006 at the Madison Public Library.