The Other Side of Middletown: Exploring Muncie's African American Community

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Prompted by the overt omission of Muncie's black community from the famous community study by Robert S. Lynd and Helen Merrell Lynd, Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture, the authors initiated this project to reveal the unrecorded historical and contemporary life of Middletown, a well-known pseudonym for the Midwestern city of Muncie, Indiana. As a collaboration of community and campus, this book recounts the early efforts of Hurley Goodall to develop a community history and archive that told the story of the African American community, and rectify the representation of small town America as exclusively white. The authors designed and implemented a collaborative ethnographic field project that involved intensive interviews, research, and writing between community organizations, local experts, ethnographers, and teams of college students. This book is a unique model for collaborative research, easily accessible to students. It will be a valuable resource for instructors in anthropology, creative writing, sociology, community research, and African American studies.
 

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Contents

The Enduring Legacy of Muncie as Middletown
27
A City Apart Hurley Coodall and Elizabeth Campbell
47
COLLABORATIVE UNDERSTANDINGS
75
Getting a Living
77
Making a Home
99
Training the Young
129
Using Leisure
157
Engaging in Religious Practices
191
Lessons Learned about Muncie Race and Ethnography
253
Elizabeth Campbell and Luke Eric Lassiter
263
Afterword
269
Notes on the Collaborative Process
273
House Concurrent Resolution 33
279
Selected Bibliography
281
Index
287
About the Authors and Community Advisors
303

Engaging in Community Activities
227

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Page 2 - the Lynds: Whether in an Arunta village in Central Australia, or in our own seemingly intricate institutional life of corporations, dividends, coming-out parties, prayer meetings, freshmen, and Congress, human behavior appears to consist in variations upon a few major lines of activity: getting the material necessities
Page 2 - food, clothing, shelter; mating; initiating the young into the group habits of thought and behavior; and so on. This study, accordingly, proceeds on the assumption that all the things people do in this American city may be viewed as falling under one or another of
Page vi - We must study, we must investigate, we must attempt to solve; and the utmost that the world can demand is, not lack of human interest and moral conviction, but rather the heart-quality of fairness, and an earnest desire for the truth.

About the author (2004)

Luke Eric Lassiter is Professor of Humanities and Anthropology and director of the graduate humanities program at Marshall University Graduate College in South Charleston, WV. Hurley Goodall is a former Indiana state legislator and recipient of the Distinguished Hoosier Award from Indiana Governor Frank O'Bannon. Elizabeth Campbell is an independent folklorist who specializes in community-based arts and history. Michelle Natasya Johnson is in the anthropology department at Ball State University.

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