English students record oral histories of '67 riots


Students from Wayne State University's English Writing and Community class (ENG 3020) had the unique opportunity to meet with seniors at the Hannan Center who lived through the events in Detroit during the summer of 1967.

The Hannan Center supports the senior community in Detroit through shared learning classes and workshops. The students met with the seniors at the Hannan Center for the majority of the course, and the Hannan seniors met the students on Wayne State's campus as well.  

"This is the first course where the class and community partnership is extremely focused on a historical event, that event being the 1967 rebellion," said Professor Thomas Trimble, who led the course. 

This semester's ENG 3020 course allowed students to learn about the 1967 rebellions in the form of oral history  while enhancing their own writing and interviewing skills. In this multigenerational class, students went to the Hannan Center to meet with senior residents to interview them about their experiences during the 1967 Detroit riots. Students recorded and documented the retellings to refine their writing skills, but more importantly to preserve these unique perspectives of a key moment in Detroit's history.

Student Kasey Rechter felt the community learning aspect of the course made learning about the riots more engaging: "Being able to interview my partner gave me a real connection with the subject of the riots and also a connection with the interviewee." 

The course provided many perspectives on the 1967 Detroit riots from the people who actually lived through it.  

Psychology student Sophie Hanna felt an appreciation for the course: "Seeing these stories told by so many different personalities made me realize how many perspectives there are about the rebellion that I hadn't considered before." 

Written by Christiana Castillo, CLAS Public Relations Associate 

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