Forthcoming Efforts of the Michigan History Project

Election-day march through the streets of Ann Arbor, 1968.
The mission of the Michigan History Project is to bring archives alive by telling the incredible, exciting tales of our state's past.

We're developing many topics, such as a study of the myth and mystery surrounding General George Armstrong Custer — a fascinating character, both hero and villain, who grew up in Michigan, married a Michigan girl, and led a brigade of Michigan cavalry in the Civil War.

We also plan to extensively document the history of Michigan sports. So many colorful, interesting, talented people. So many stirring, electrifying stories. All brought to vivid life by the use of thousands of stunning images.

The Michigan History Project has acquired the Ann Arbor News' archive of University of Michigan sports photos, and that's just the beginning. We're is seeking other dramatic images of sports that can help us document our state's history of excellence in athletics.

Other topics that we're developing include the origins and early days of Motown Records, feisty abolitionist Laura Smith Haviland, and Albert Kahn, the father of modern industrial architecture.

But by far the most interesting subject we're working on is what happened in the city of Ann Arbor during the 1960s.

Black Action Movement strike at the University of Michigan, 1970.
The sixties were without doubt one of the most turbulent decades in American history, a time of tremendous and remarkably rapid social, political, and cultural change.

And tiny Ann Arbor, Michigan, was right in the thick of it.

Ann Arbor doesn't seem to get as much recognition for its contribution to the sea change of the sixties as do other places such as Berkeley or Madison, Wisconsin. But it was just as important to the decade's growth and evolution as either of those two cities.

Ann Arbor saw the birth of Students for a Democratic Society — one the biggest and most influential youth groups of the sixties — in 1960, and was home to the SDS leadership for the first half of the decade.

Ann Arbor spawned the first "teach-in" of the sixties, in March 1965, about the widening war in a small Southeast Asian country most Americans had never heard of. (That would soon change.)

Sit-in at the Washtenaw County Building, 1968.
Ann Arborites also played a key role in the establishment of the Peace Corps, following a speech by presidential candidate John F. Kennedy on the steps of the Michigan Union in October 1960.

Ann Arbor was the birthplace of the White Panther Party, which would eventually play an important (although indirect and greatly ironic) role in the downfall of the Nixon administration.

In addition, Ann Arbor (not San Francisco) was the city that saw the election of the first openly gay person to public office in the United States in early 1974.

The Michigan History Project plans to produce the definitive history of Ann Arbor during the 1960s, including half-dozen deluxe illustrated books as well as a series of graphic novels and one or more films.

If you've got photographs or other memorabilia from Ann Arbor in the 1960s or 70s, please get in touch.


The Michigan Sports Media Collection

Look inside the Michigan History Project's most recent acquisition, the incredible collection of University of Michigan sports photos formerly owned by the Ann Arbor News.
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Keep History Alive – Get It Out of the Box

Get your memories and mementoes out of the box and into the light, where they can be seen and appreciated. Don't let your historical treasures end up in the trash. Now is the time to act!
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What the Future Holds for Michigan's Past

Read about the Michigan History Project's plans for future efforts in bringing the exciting stories of our state's past to brilliant life.
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The Michigan History Project is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization committed to bringing archives alive and making them available to the widest possible audience through compelling and relevant media.

If you are interested in contributing to our efforts or discussing the Michigan History Project's aims and objectives, please visit the contact page.

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