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Pathways to Freedom: Struggle and Protest in Brooklyn grew out of a partnership between LIU Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Historical Society to bring first year college students into the archives to do primary research. Supported by a Fund for the Improvement of Post-Secondary Education Grant, the BHS project is called Students and Faculty in the Archives (SAFA). At LIU Brooklyn, four faculty members from English, History, and the campus Writing Across the Curriculum program formed a learning community called Pathways to Freedom. For three years from fall 2011 through spring 2014, sixty first-year students will have participated in Pathways, learning about Brooklyn history with a focus on the role African Americans played in building the borough, the city, the state, and the Mid-Atlantic region.
Each year culminates in oral history interviews with Brooklyn civil rights activists, who have so far included Dorothy Burnham, Jitu Weusi, Rioghan Kirchner, Yvonne Harmon, and Ahmed Abdullah. These interviews, in turn, form the basis for The Pathways to Freedom Digital Narrative Project (PFDN), funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Startup Grant. PFDN will be available on both a website and a mobile application that maps the oral histories in time and space using a variety of digital technologies. Each year, we will tell three stories about civil rights struggles in Brooklyn, creating a 15-minute video for each story and enhancing the video on both the website and the app with archival photographs, newsreel, and maps. Our first story, to be screened on MLK Day 2013, is about the historic protests against discriminatory hiring practices at SUNY Downstate Medical Center during the summer of 1963.
Professor of English
English 16C Syllabus – Fall 2013 Syllabus