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Morgan State University Receives Nearly $250K Museum Grant to Expand Civil Rights Education for Baltimore City Youth

Three-Year Funding Supports Lillie Carroll Jackson Museum’s Enhancement of Educational Curriculum for Middle/High School Students and Addresses Staffing Needs

Morgan State University (MSU) has announced the receipt of a $248,442 grant award from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The three-year grant, which was awarded under the FY2019 Museum Grants for African American History and Culture program, is being used by Morgan’s Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum (LCJM) to fund the development of a programmatic, civil rights-based educational curriculum aimed at Baltimore City middle school and high school students, and to address key staffing needs at the museum. To assist with incorporating Baltimore’s storied civil rights history into the mainstream curriculum, the museum has partnered with Baltimore City Public Schools, the Maryland Historical Society and Baltimore Heritage, each of which will contribute expertise related to highlighting Baltimore’s civil rights leadership history and implementing experiential educational engagement for educators and their students.

“We are delighted to lead such an important and transformative educational initiative,” said Iris Leigh Barnes, Ph.D., the curator for LCJM and project manager/supervisor for the grant. “Baltimore has such rich civil rights history. It is vital that the city’s youth understand how that history fits into the national freedom struggle and that they learn from the iconic Baltimore leaders and the tactics they used to experience successes in social justice reform.”

In 2018, IMLS received 37 applications vying for a portion of the $4,841,383 in available funding. Of those requests from across the country, 14 projects, including Morgan’s, were selected to receive funding totaling $2,231,000. IMLS’s peer reviewers evaluated all eligible and complete applications, assessing the merit of each proposal and its fit with the goals of the grant program. The final determination for funding was made by IMLS’s director.

The IMLS Museum Grants for African American History and Culture program award selection process dictates that each project support the specific goals of building the capacity of the museum; supporting the growth and development of museum professionals; and providing community access and awareness. With Morgan’s project, it enabled the museum to hire Shana Rochester, Ph.D., as an education coordinator and hire intern staff to assist in expanding the museum’s educational objectives. Outside of bolstering museum staff, the grant will primarily benefit the middle school and high school population of the Baltimore metropolitan area.

Local teachers are visiting the Lillie Carroll Jackson museum to build primary source research skills and to connect their instruction to Baltimore’s history and the city’s role in the U.S. civil rights movement. During the school year, teachers bring their students to the museum to engage in a hands-on experience that enriches their understanding of their city’s African-American history and legacy, while building essential historical thinking skills.

“All residents of the city of Baltimore, especially its children, should know the impact of the activism of Lillie Carroll Jackson and her allies,” added Dr. Barnes.

Born only 22 years after the close of the Civil War, Lillie Carroll Jackson was a mentor and source of inspiration for a number of 20th century civil rights icons, including Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Thurgood Marshall and Jackie Robinson. Jackson was a renowned advocate for the civil rights movement and served as president of the Baltimore Chapter of the NAACP for more than 35 years. Her home was a regular meeting place for organizing civil rights campaigns. Jackson requested that her home be used as a civil rights museum after her passing, to honor individuals who fought bigotry in Baltimore. She passed away in 1975. The Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum was opened in 1978 by the Jackson-Mitchell family with the support of local and national leaders, and later, in 1996, the Maryland state legislature transferred the property to Morgan State University, the largest historically black university in Maryland.

The Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum is one of two museums owned and operated by the University, the other being the James E. Lewis Museum of Art. In 2016, the Lillie Carroll Jackson museum, located at 1320 Eutaw Place in Baltimore City, was reopened after a $3-million restoration project. Two years later, the museum was recognized with the Maryland Preservation Award, the state’s highest recognition for historical preservation, heritage education and community development projects.

Admission to the Lillie Carroll Jackson Civil Rights Museum is free for visitors and available for group or individual tours and other events. For more information about the museum, visit, or call (443) 885-5300.

About Morgan
Morgan State University, founded in 1867, is a Carnegie-classified doctoral research institution offering more than 125 academic programs leading to degrees from the baccalaureate to the doctorate. As Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University, Morgan serves a multiethnic and multiracial student body and seeks to ensure that the doors of higher education are opened as wide as possible to as many as possible. For more information about Morgan State University, visit

Larry Jones or Dell Jackson, University PR
(443) 885-3022

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