Signal of Liberty

The Signal of Liberty was Ann Arbor's prominent abolitionist newspaper, running from 1841-1847. The paper has been digitized and made available online. This wonderful resource can be browsed by either articles or images. The Signal of Liberty had a primary goal of spreading facts on the issue of slavery to readers in the Midwest and remains an excellent primary source for research.

This resource can be accessed by visiting signalofliberty.aadl.org or through the AADL website by going to the Research page, clicking Local History, and then selecting Signal of Liberty.

The Beer Depot sign, 1967

Beer Depot signBeer Depot sign

An article in annarbor.com posted yesterday reports that the historic Beer Depot drive-thru sign will finally be repaired and restored at the East William street business after a storm blew it down last year and owners had to work through city ordinance restrictions.

For this and other signs from 1960s and 1970s-era Ann Arbor, check out our great collection of historic signs.

Images from the Past: The Making of Ann Arbor

Several years ago, when a patron needed an image of the old entrance to the U-M hospital, we suggested he look in The Making of Ann Arbor. Eureka! He found a colorful postcard image and printed it.

Other researchers in The Making of Ann Arbor website find similar success as they search or browse through several image collections and full-text of books. Nicknamed "MoAA," this website was created through a collaboration among AADL, the Bentley Historical Library, and the U-M Digital Library Production Services. You can use it for research or just to enjoy browsing through a collection of postcards, historic buildings, advertisements, and maps of early Ann Arbor.

Access to this and any of our other reference databases and resources is available at every branch of the AADL, as well as from outside the library with a valid AADL library card. For access from an outside location, please sign in to your library account, visit our reference database page, and navigate to the desired resource. To access The Making of Ann Arbor database, go to the research page and select The Making of Ann Arbor from the Ann Arbor category.

Tracking down a sketch artist

Here's a cool story we wanted to share! So a woman in Georgia knows her dad was a sketch artist whose work appeared in the Ann Arbor News in the late 1960s and she'd really like to see some of his work. Her friend contacts The Ann Arbor Chronicle whose editor happens to know we're undergoing a massive digitization effort, and he forwards the query to us. Well, it turns out we've already scanned some of those very sketches at ridiculous high quality and color as part of our feature on the John Normans Collins murder and trial during the late 1960s!

AADL Talks To Commander Cody

George Frayne, aka Commander Cody, formed Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen in 1967 while attending the University of Michigan. We had the opportunity to chat with George backstage at the Ark before the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally (Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen performed at the original Rally in 1971). George spoke about the formation of the band, his memories of some of Ann Arbor's musical hot spots, as well as his introduction to boogie-woogie piano, to pot, and to John Sinclair and the White Panther Party.

For more information on Commander Cody, visit commandercody.com and oldnews.aadl.org.

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AADL_Talks_To-Commander_Cody.mp3 22.86 MB

AADL Talks To David Fenton

While he was in town during the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, we had the chance to sit down with David Fenton, CEO and founder of fenton.com, about his time in Ann Arbor during the late 1960s and early 1970s. During these years David lived at the Hill Street Commune, worked on the Ann Arbor Sun, and helped with the campaign to free John Sinclair. David discusses Sinclair's influence on his personal and professional life; reflects on the excesses - both good and bad - of the countercultural movement as he experienced it, and its legacy 40 years later in its modern counterparts, including moveon.org and the Occupy Wall Street movement.

David also participated in our panel discussion, Culture Jamming: A Long View Back.

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AADL_Talks_To-David_Fenton.mp3 24.8 MB

AADL Talks to George Pomey

Local businessman and community leader George Pomey was a member of the illustrious 1964 and 1965 Michigan Wolverine Basketball teams that won back-to-back Big Ten titles, and took Michigan to the NCAA Tournaments. This March, he sat down and talked about those glory days.

Pomey remembered clearly his recruiting trip to Ann Arbor along with another teammate from his high school in Illinois; his warm relationships with his Wolverine coaches and teammates throughout his playing career; and their friendship over the years (they still have frequent reunions!). He also remembered the comparatively "primitive" sports facilities; playing to the capacity crowds at Yost Fieldhouse; his brief coaching and radio/television broadcasting experience after graduation; and his continued involvement with Michigan sports.

On March 16, 1965 Pomey and Teammate Larry Tregoning were named 2nd team Big Ten all Academic, Pomey talked about the tough schedule for athletes, and his admiration for the current Wolverine team.

Pomey also brought along these photos from the scrapbook his mother kept.

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AADL_Talks_To-George_Pomey.mp3 24.8 MB

This weekend is the 40th Dance for Mother Earth Powwow

Ann Arbor's Dance for Mother Earth Powwow celebrates its 40th anniversary this weekend at Pioneer High School. The Powwow, hosted by the U-M Native American Student Association (NASA), is one of the largest university powwows in the nation. We've added to Oldnews some of the articles and photographs from past powwows that we found in our Ann Arbor News archive.

Grand entry is at noon and 7:00 p.m. Saturday, March 17, and noon on Sunday, March 18. Learn what to expect if you're a first-time attendee. For more information, visit www.umich.edu/~powwow.

AADL Talks To Wayne Kramer

While he was in town for the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, Wayne Kramer, lead guitarist and co-founder of the seminal Detroit/Ann Arbor band, MC5, sat down to talk with us. Wayne discusses the early years of the band and the influence of jazz, Sinclair, and Detroit culture on their music. He also talks about his troubles in the years following the band's dissolution; his current work with Jail Guitar Doors and fondly recalls the concerts in West Park.

Read more about Wayne Kramer and the MC5 at oldnews.aadl.org and freeingjohnsinclair.org.

Photo by Robert Matheu

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AADL_Talks_To-Wayne_Kramer.mp3 24.8 MB

Culture Jamming: A Long View Back - A Panel Discussion With John Sinclair, Leni Sinclair, Pun Plamondon, David Fenton, and Genie Parker

On December 10, 2011, the 40th anniversary of the John Sinclair Freedom Rally, AADL invited former White Panther Party and Rainbow People's Party members John Sinclair, Leni Sinclair, Pun Plamondon, David Fenton, and Genie Parker to the Michigan Union for a panel discussion moderated by Professor Bruce Conforth of the University of Michigan Program in American Culture. These five panelists, central to the actions and ideals surrounding Ann Arbor's late-1960s counter-culture, reflect on what they called their "total assault on culture" during the late 1960s and early 1970s - what worked, what didn't, and what it means today.
View the video here or in other formats.

Photograph courtesy of Barbara Weinberg Barefield.
(Click image for a larger view.)

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