Long before the term Border War was co-opted by sports enthusiast, it defined a period in Kansas history during which abolitionists — including those in Wabaunsee County — fought for the soul of this nation. That story is being captured in a new documentary produced by the College of Education titled “Dawn of Day: Stories from the Underground Railroad.”
The hourlong premiere is scheduled at 1 p.m. Thursday, May 5, in the K-State Student Union’s Forum Hall. The event is free and open to the public, and the documentary will be available on the college’s website as a resource for educators.
The film was commissioned by Debbie Mercer, dean of the college, and it is narrated by Richard Pitts, executive director of the Wonder Workshop. It also includes in-depth interviews with Michael Stubbs, a historian; Madge McDonald, a descendant of area abolitionists; and Brad Burenheide, historian and associate professor of curriculum and instruction.
Rusty Earl, college videographer, is grateful for the opportunity to tell this story.
“I cannot give enough thanks to the many people who let us into their homes and histories to tell this important story,” Earl said. “It’s difficult to imagine what would have happened to our state and nation without the heroic people who lived in this county.”
Morales explained more than one-third of the college’s students are first gen. Forty percent of K-State students are first gen, compared to roughly 19 percent nationally.
Footage from the college’s documentary “A Walk in My Shoes: First-Generation College Students” provided the material for the narrative inquiry research project, which culminated in the electronic publication. The e-book contains a resource section complete with links to national scholarships, FAFSA information, and other support programs focused on first gen student success.
“Over the course of a year, we worked and sifted through hours and hours of data to construct the essence of who these people were as students and their journeys as first-gens,” Morales said. “It shows the amazing strengths and capital first gen students have and how they had to fight and endure hardships to get to college. This e-book provides context for understanding their experiences and will help educators better support these students.”
Educators have a growing resource for their classrooms, and it’s only a click away.
The College of Education’s YouTube channel features content from Poland, Tanzania, Ecuador, as well as research videos, and the college’s signature documentary series, “A Walk in My Shoes.” Two of the documentaries were such high-caliber they aired on PBS stations around the state.
These are relevant pieces ranging in topic from social justice to military life and many can be used in the classroom. The latest documentary, “A Long Road,” even has free lesson plans that are aligned to the common core currciulum. Visit www.meac.org for more information.
“People around the world are able to watch our videos and connect with K-State,” said Rusty Earl, the college’s videographer. He noted the “Irena Sendler Project Documentary: Life in a Jar” has about 10,000 views, many of which were from viewers in Poland and throughout Europe.