Community High School (CHS) is an alternative public high school serving grades 9-12 located at 401 North Division Street in Ann Arbor's historic Kerrytown District. It was one of the first magnet schools to arise from a nation-wide wave of experimental schools that drew on the social movements of the late 1960s and early 1970s, and was specifically influenced by social and political activism in Ann Arbor at the time.
It could have been a quintessential success story about a young entrepreneur-scientist starting a hobby in the basement of his home and within 20 years turning it into a multi-million-dollar international business.
Since 1965, the Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice (ICPJ) has inspired, educated, and mobilized people to unite across differences and to act from their shared ethical and spiritual values in pursuit of peace with social and environmental justice. The Ann Arbor District Library, in partnership with ICPJ, has pulled together hundreds of photos, local news articles, and documents spanning five decades of social justice advocacy and activism in our community.
From the very beginning, in 1965, this organization (and its supporters) has envisioned a world free from violence, including the violence of war, poverty, oppression, and environmental devastation. The core of ICPJ’s work over the past five decades has come from a number of volunteer-led program areas and working groups. These program committees bring people together from a variety of religions and backgrounds to work on specific peace and justice issues.
In the past ICPJ has hosted working groups focused on the Prevention of Gun Violence, No Weapons/No War – alternatives to military engagement, Common Ground for Peace in Israel/Palestine among many other issues. Recent areas of work have included Racial and Economic Justice, Climate Change and Earth Care, Latin American Human Rights Issues, Hunger/Poverty and most recently a themed year (2015) exploring Food & Justice with a 2016 focus on Income Inequality and Racial Justice coming up.
Please take a moment to explore the rich history of this important social justice organization. Below are some of the themes, work groups, and events during 50 years of ICPJ history in Ann Arbor:
Hunger: Since 1975 ICPJ has organized the annual Washtenaw County CROP Hunger Walks as an interfaith response to local and world hunger. Over the last 28 years walkers from some 50 area congregations and schools have raised more than one million dollars to assist both local and international agencies in relieving hunger and addressing its root causes. ICPJ works closely with Bread for the World in education, action and advocacy efforts; provides resources for congregations and groups doing programs about world hunger; and cooperates with area agencies in raising community awareness and soliciting funds.
Latin America: The Latin American Task Force devotes itself to education and action on Latin America concerns, especially U.S. policy in that region. It stands in solidarity with the movement to close the U.S. Army’s Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (formerly the School of Americas), as its graduates have committed atrocities across Latin America, leading many to consider it to be a “School of Assassins.” The task force also organizes educational programs about the U.S. military presence in Colombia and Honduras and how corporate globalization affects the poor in Latin America. Related events reflected in our photo history are: School of Assassins Watch (SOAW) events, ICPJ's early involvement with the establishment of our Sister Cty in Juigalpa, Nicaragua, and the events associated with the Religious Coalition on Latin America (RCLA).
Dozens of other topics and events are represented in the Photos collection, including annual Hiroshima Day events and Nuclear Disarmament protests; and programs and events associated with ICPJ's Middle East Task Force (METF). You will also find photos of ICPJ's participation in parades, at numerous vigils, and many other local and national events.
People were so desperate to save their children from the dreaded disease of polio, that when the first vaccines were sent to Ann Arbor in 1955, they were stored at the police department in a refrigerator, locked with a chain around it. Just three weeks previously, on April 12, Dr. Thomas Francis of the U-M’s School of Public Health had made the momentous announcement that the vaccine developed by Dr. Jonas Salk, which used killed polio viruses to give immunity, was “safe, effective and potent.”
“Vaccine will end polio as a major health threat,” was the headline in the April 12, 1955 Ann Arbor News, shortly after Francis gave his report at Rackham Auditorium. The announcement was made in Ann Arbor because of the key role the University of Michigan had played in the vaccine’s development. Francis, who had earlier developed a flu vaccine, joined U-M’s Public Health Department in 1941, followed the next year by Salk, who Francis had mentored at New York University. Salk left in 1947 for a job at the University of Pittsburgh, where he developed the polio vaccine using tools he had learned from Francis.
On February 23, 1935 the Ann Arbor Daily News announced the formation of a “Civic Amateur Theatre Group intended to meet the need for a dramatic organization in Ann Arbor.” It was open to anyone, not just those interested in appearing in plays but also those who were willing to work behind the scenes.
At the dedication in 1991 of the second addition to the downtown library, director Ramon Hernandez explained that his goal was to have the library be strong in three areas: children’s services, reference, and popular materials. This collection of Ann Arbor News articles shows that these were goals from the very beginning.