Beyond the Tie-Dye: Counterculture in Champaign-Urbana, 1965-1975 - November 10, 2011

Team Member Janet Morford Bio

I teach social studies at University Laboratory High School, where I also serve as head of the Department of Social Studies and as faculty sponsor for the WILL internship program.  As part of my “Introduction to Social Studies” course, I work with students each year on an extensive oral history project on some aspect of local history.

It is fascinating to see each project come into being. The senior student producers' initial ideas for a new project serve as a springboard into conversations with colleagues and community members, and “the story we’re trying to tell” gradually takes shape. Such were the beginnings of the counterculture project. When Aishwarya, Sarah and Shruti proposed this topic, I wondered what we would be able to share about efforts to change the world in the 1960s and 1970s that had not already been said, sung or expressed more vividly elsewhere. But we soon found ourselves in contact with an amazing array of people, whose passions and commitments helped us see beyond the clichés and discover some of the things that made those years a uniquely tumultuous and memorable time for many in this community. We trust that their stories will appeal to a wide range of listeners as strongly as they did to us.

Working with Uni students as they grow from "subbies" to seniors is an exceptionally gratifying experience, and I'm always delighted to see the new tricks that they manage to teach me along the way. I'm grateful also to Dave Dickey and Kimberlie Kranich from Illinois Public Media, for providing all of us with opportunities to learn with and from them.


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