A Choice of Nonviolence

"Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a [hu]man, but you refuse to hate him [or her]." Martin Luther King, Jr.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Wall Chosen for Mural Site

Mural organizers are pleased to announce the selection of Village Florist in Cassopolis, Michigan as the site for the Kentucky Raid mural. Becky Maier, owner of the longstanding business, has expressed enthusiastic support of the project.

The designated wall, jointly owned by Maier and Attorney Stephen Woods, faces north, symbolically appropriate for art depicting the difficult, yet hopeful journey of African American freedom-seekers.

The watercolor painting to the right is one of several "studies" that mural artist Ruth Andrews has offered to the mural organizing committee for input.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Interracial alliance receives Michigan Humanities Council Grant

An interracial alliance of Cass County, Michigan residents, sponsored by the Minority Coalition, a 501 c-3 nonprofit based in Cassopolis, Michigan, has received a "Michigan People, Michigan Places" grant to install a planned mural in downtown Cassopolis depicting the famous Kentucky Raid of 1847. Already the subject of a Michigan Milestone marker in Cassopolis, the raid, represented through this visual medium, will be told more vibrantly. The group expects that this latest representation will properly place at the center of the onslaught both the African American fugitives themselves and local free blacks who (with local whites, most nobably Quakers) came to the aid of their brethren.

The mural, which has been under discussion for over a year, is to be completed during the summer of 2010, and the group hopes to involve community members in the processes of wall preparation and painting. This year, mural artist Ruth Andrews, with the assistance of local activist Ruth Crawley, began planning scenes for the mural, work that has included staging scenes using community members to play the parts of freedom-seeking African Americans.

Throughout the entire process of bringing the mural to fruition, the alliance expects to continue expanding the number of people touched by the important history which will be represented through this public art form, and, to that end, the group will offer in the coming year three community forums. The first is tentatively set for Black History Month (February). Upon completion of the mural, a pamphlet elaborating on the history of the raid will be made available at the project site.

Stay tuned for more information on this exciting project and future announcements concerning ways to get involved in this work.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kentucky at Sunrise

Director Von Washington and Stage ManagerJean Schultz search
for props for the upcoming production, Kentucky at Sunrise.

Kentucky at Sunrise, by Dr. Von Washington, will be the featured performance at this year's International Festival. This dramatization of the Kentucky Raid, which occurred in Cass County in August of 1847, will be presented in "tableau vivant" form. Local actors, including five area pastors, will present 9 tableaus as professional storytellers describe the action. A gospel choir led by Ruth Crawley will provide the spiritual and emotional backdrop to the events.

The International Festival is free and open to the public.

This event will be held at Ross Beatty High School, 22721 Diamond Cove Rd, Cassopolis, Michigan from 1 to 5 pm on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2009. Kentucky at Sunrise will be performed at 2 pm.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Kentucky Raid Mural Project Finds New Sponsor

The Kentucky Raid Mural Project, well into its planning year thanks to funding by the Michigan Humanities Council, is now being sponsored by the Minority Coalition, a community organization located in Cassopolis, Michigan.

The Minority Coalition, a 501 c-3 organization, is excited to play a key role in the project. The group's involvement at this point reflects its early interest in Cass County's unique history including Underground Railroad activity and anti-slavery activism of area Quakers and free blacks.

The Coalition, founded in 1996, offers educational and cultural experiences to the entire community targeting minority populations. According to the group's president, Adrienne Glover, the mission of the Coalition "is to bring racial harmony to the citizens of Cass County."

Monday, February 2, 2009

Announcement of the Mural Project

WAND (Women's Action for New Directions)
in collaboration with several local partners announces the planning of an outdoor mural to commemorate the famous Kentucky Raid of 1847 in Cass County, Michigan.
In the summer of '47, Kentucky slaveowners came to Michigan to retrieve their escaped slaves. Area residents, Quakers of Young's Prairie in particular, as well as a number of free blacks, came to the defense of the freedom seekers. The result of this intense conflict was a court case in Detroit, heavy fines for the implicated Quakers, and freedom (in other parts of Michigan and in Canada) for the long-suffering fugitives.
The mural, depicting various "scenes" from the Raid, is to be located in the Village of Cassopolis, Michigan.

The planning committee has created this blog in order to encourage community interest and involvement in various phases of the planning process. We want to hear from you! Click on "comment" to add your voice to this discussion. Also, be sure to visit "The Underground Railroad in Cass County" for an overview of the network's activities in Southwest Michigan.