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Magazine features "fruits" of WMU labor

June 19, 2006

KALAMAZOO--"Voices of the Growers," a feature in the May/June issue of Michigan History magazine, focuses on work done by students and faculty in Western Michigan University's public history graduate and undergraduate programs.

The article, written by Dr. Kristin Szylvian, associate professor of history, and recent master's graduate Jennifer Gaydos, is one of several stories in the magazine that reflects work done over the past two years by nearly 100 WMU students.

The students and their faculty mentors helped prepare an exhibit about southwest Michigan's fruit-growing history for the Fort Miami Heritage Society at the society's Priscilla U. Byrns Heritage Center in St. Joseph, Mich.

Another article in the issue by Szylvian, "The Joads Come to Michigan," chronicles agricultural workers' live in Michigan during the 1930s and 1940s. A sidebar to the "Voices" story details a WMU oral history project that began in 2004 under the direction of Szylvian and Dr. Lynne Heasley, assistant professor of history.

That project involved conducting 26 in-depth interviews that influenced the direction of the current Fort Miami exhibit and were used as the basis for the WMUK radio documentary "A Fruitful Land."

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, (269) 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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