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Exhibit Opening: Culture and Leisure at Jackson State Pr*son


Exhibit Opening: Culture and Leisure at Jackson State Pr*son

States of Incarceration, a national traveling exhibit that looks at the history and future of mass incarceration in the United States, opened for an 8-month run at the Michigan History Museum in Lansing in Sep. 2018. Created by university students and formerly incarcerated individuals from 30 communities across the country, the national exhibition investigates mass incarceration by creating a dialogue of local histories.

On Tuesday, Mar. 19, Michigan State University history professor Dr. LaShawn Harris and students from her special fall semester course will unveil a new panel that will be added to the national exhibition.

Dr. Harris developed the course, entitled Histories of The Carceral State, in partnership with the and the Humanities Action Lab, who developed the national exhibit, and Michigan History Center. The seminar-style class focused on the history of cultural and leisure activities at Jackson State Penitentiary and worked with the Citizens for Pr*son Reform in Lansing.

During the free evening reception, Dr. Harris will talk about the student’s research into the different types of formal and informal rehabilitation programs that Jackson State Penitentiary offered from 1900 to the 1940s. The resulting exhibition panel consists of photos and primary source documents and dives into the art, music and sports programs.

The evening reception is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5 p.m. for refreshments and exhibition viewing. The brief program will begin at 6 p.m.


This program, presented free of charge, is part of a series on incarceration in Michigan and the United States, held in conjunction with the Michigan History Museum’s special exhibition, States of Incarceration: A National Dialogue on Local Histories.

The States of Incarceration program series, which is made possible, in part, by a grant from Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, features presentations and films that explore all aspects and perspectives on incarceration in Michigan and the United States. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in presentations do not necessarily represent those of the Michigan History Center, the National Endowment for the Humanities or Michigan Humanities Council.

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