Laura Phillippi is the site supervisor for the Lansing Historical Museum.

Laura Phillippi is the site supervisor for the Lansing Historical Museum.

1. Tell us a little about the partnership between the Lansing Historical Museum and the University of Saint Mary.
Approximately six years ago, Dr. Ken Mulliken, chairperson of the History, Political Science & Global Studies department started a service learning program with his students. The students perform 15 hours of work for the Museum.
The students learn about the operations of a small museum and in turn the students provide assistance with exhibits, collections management and events.
Dr. Mulliken and I successfully applied for a Kansas Campus Compact grant which was used to promote local history with an exhibit at the Museum and a traveling exhibit that went to Eisenhower Elementary School.
This past year the Museum and USM hosted a history hunt to go along with a citizenship exhibit that was at the De Paul Library on campus. Recently, Dr. Mulliken took a position as Director of the Honors College at Southern Oregon University. Before he left he encouraged his colleagues Drs. Kyle Anthony and Karenbeth Zacharias to continue the service learning program with the Museum which they have agreed to do. In the next few weeks Drs. Bryan Le Beau, Kyle Anthony, Karenbeth Zacharias, and I will meet to make arrangements for this new endeavor.

2. Whose idea was it to try for a grant to host "Created Equal?"
Our friends at the Kansas Humanities Council posted the Created Equal grant opportunity on their Facebook page. I thought it would be good for the community so I asked Dr. Le Beau who is the Vice-President of Academic Affairs if USM would be interested in partnering for this project. Dr. Le Beau is a historian and readily agreed to the project. I wrote the grant application with his assistance this spring and received notification this summer.

3. What does the grant include? What makes this unique?
This grant will fund a film discussion series using four powerful films to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation: The Abolitionists, Slavery by Another Name, Freedom Riders, and The Loving Story. The discussions will be led by the historians from USM. We would also like to have field trips to the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Topeka and the John Brown Museum State Historic Site in Osawatomie. It is an honor to get a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide programming about a topic that is still relevant today. Northeast Kansas has a unique civil rights history with Fort Leavenworth, abolitionist John Brown, and the Brown v. Board of Education case. Leavenworth County is in the Freedom's Frontier National Heritage Area and we look forward to sharing this program with the public.

4. When will the series start?
The first film discussion will be in March 2014. We will be working out the details in the next few weeks.

5. What do you hope the participants will take away from this series?
I would hope the participants would have a better appreciation for what our ancestors went through to improve civil rights in the United States. Two of the films may be new history to many viewers. Slavery by Another Name tells a dark chapter of American history where African-American men were arrested for crimes such as "vagrancy" and forced to work without pay. This system was tolerated in the North and South and lasted well into the 20th century.

The Loving Story details how Richard and Mildred Loving were arrested in 1958 for violating Virginia's Racial Integrity Act. The couple had legally married in Washington D.C. however; interracial marriage was prohibited in their home state of Virginia. The couple was given a one-year suspended prison sentence and forced to move to Washington D.C. The couple sued and the case eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Court ruled in favor of the Lovings which struck down the anti-miscegenation laws still on the books.
I would also hope it could encourage people to exercise their right to vote. This right was fought for by many in the United States and it is still a right to be had for others around the world. Freedom is not free and should not be taken for granted.

— Tim Linn