2018 MCHR Freedom Tour and Wayne State University Ralph Bunche Summer Institute

Date: Jul. 9 - Jul. 17, 2018

MCHR and Wayne State University’s Center for Peace and Conflict Studies’ Ralph Bunche Summer Institute are looking for 25 young leaders from diverse backgrounds and communities across Metro Detroit to accompany on the 2018 Freedom Tour — an 8-day journey of growth, discovery and connection from 7/9- 7/17.

On Monday through Wednesday during the first week, we will be at Wayne State University (WSU) from 8 am to 4:30 pm. Our first overnight stay will be on Thursday the 12th at Wayne State University. We will dismiss for the final day on Wayne State’s campus the following day, Friday the 13th, at 4:30 after our participants present what they learned and are recognized during an award ceremony.

On the following Monday, the 16th, we will travel to Idlewild, MI from WSU’s campus at 8 am sharp by bus (participants must be on campus at 7:30 for boarding). We will arrive in Idlewild at lunchtime, around 12:30. We will stay in Idlewild for the night and return home to WSU, arriving in the afternoon (time TBD).

We are charging a $125 registration fee to help cover costs associated with the tour. There are a limited number of scholarships available. Stay tuned for more info.

Project Summary:

The year 2018 marks the 15th year of the Center for Peace and Conflict Studies Ralph Bunche Summer Institute (RBSI), as well as Wayne State University’s 150th anniversary as a major public institution serving the Detroit area. The Institute brings together 25 Southeast Michigan and international high school students to ensure the legacy of the great Detroit-born diplomat and civil rights pioneer, Dr. Ralph J. Bunche, the first person of color to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

During the past two years, in collaboration with and with support from the National Park Service and the Walter K. Kellogg Foundation, along with other sponsors, we have codified and implemented a curriculum that brings together Detroit’s African American Civil Rights landmarks with the ideas and teachings inspired by Dr. Bunche to enlighten our diverse student group on issues of racial and ethnic understanding as well as conflict resolution.

Project Description:

Significance: In 2018 we will offer our updated program “Reimagining Peace and Racial Harmony: Putting History to Work” for a 5-day period that introduces students to public spaces and historical markers related to civic rights and social justice, as well as social conflict and collaboration.  The object will be for the students themselves to brainstorm collaborative commemorations and preservation of key historical landmarks that have not yet received historical markers. Inclusion of the Racial Harmony dimension will allow students to explore ways and means of overcoming the divides that have plagued our nation and using public spaces as a positive theme in doing so.

In 2018, during the 51st anniversary of the Detroit civil disturbances of 1967, 25 students from across our region, as well as from Colombia, will be introduced to the importance of historical markers, and then visit sites associated with the 1967 uprising. Of particular interest in this process is the civil rights legacy of key American minorities. The students will spend part of their week developing self-directed team projects to propose their own needed future historical markers—those places which need recognition but have not yet formally received it, such as the infamous “Birwood Wall” separating a white and black Detroit neighborhood so that federal mortgage funds could go to the white residents, or the Belle Isle Bridge where racial violence broke out and spread under wartime conditions in 1943.

The students will also participate in experiential learning workshops to build skills in nonviolence and conflict resolution and We will experience east and west side Detroit Freedom Tours, travelling to sites which may include Mohammed’s Temple No 1, the Birwood Wall, Shrine of the Black Madonna, the Ossian Sweet House, the Boggs Center, and Bloody Run Creek.

The students will hear from civil rights and social justice activists and dialogue constructively with the Wayne State University police department, a unit responsible for much of the central city area.  Additionally, we offer community service engagement and team and leadership building opportunities through collaborative projects, field trips and overnight experiences—one night on campus and one night in a kayaking and camping excursion to historic Idlewild, MI- aka Black Eden, a beautiful, wooded, rural resort town in the central lower peninsula popular among black Americans during Jim Crow.

We are recruiting youth from widely varying inner-city, suburban and rural backgrounds. These youth will form remarkable inter-personal bonds. They will present final reports to a community audience on their historical markers proposals.

In 2018, the Wayne State University Center for Peace and Conflict Studies, in collaboration with the Michigan Coalition of Human Rights, will include in our historical marker consideration an emphasis on site preservation regarding the African American experience and inter-racial understanding.


Click here to download the flyer!

If you are a Metro Detroit student (grade range: incoming 10th graders- graduating 12th graders) and wish to apply, fill out the form below. The deadline to apply is Friday, 7/6!

  • Waiver and Contracts

    Please download the PDFs below, sign, and upload when submitting your registration.

    General Release Waiver
    Student and Guardian Contracts

  • Please answer the following prompts. Space is limited in the Institute, so please note that these essays will be carefully evaluated by program staff and volunteers before any decision regarding the applicant’s admission status is reached.
  • General Release Waiver
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  • Student and Guardian Contracts
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