Judge Davies curriculum project receives Phase II funding

January 2012, UND Special Collections Library, L-R: Carl Oberholtzer, Project Manager; Connie Nelson, District Grant Writer/Mgr.; Stacy Reikowski, NDSU graduate student and project researcher; and Art Phillips, Video Arts Studios.

Fargo Public Schools and a group of local partners have received nearly $100,000 in dedicated funding for the second phase of the Judge Davies Curriculum Project from five organizations: 

  • The Ronald D. Offutt Family Foundation
  • State Bank & Trust
  • The North Dakota Historical Society
  • The North Dakota Humanities Council
  • The Arkansas Humanities Council

Curriculum planning and research are currently underway, with a public premiere planned for January 2013. The curriculum will include copies of primary documents from Judge Davies’ personal files provided by his family, and a video presentation that credits Judge Davies with enforcing desegregation across the United States with his 1957 ruling in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Local partners include Video Arts Studios, NDSU Departments of History and Education, the North Dakota Historical Society and the North Dakota Humanities Council. The F-M Area Foundation has agreed to provide fiscal services for the project.  Carl Oberholtzer, a retired Fargo North history teacher will be the project manager.

The curriculum will be available for Grades 4, 8 and 11 beginning in the fall of 2013. A web-based public/post-secondary version is also planned as part of Phase II. As part of the project, the program will eventually be distributed across North Dakota to all school districts through the rural education associations. Project planners expect the entire project to cost approximately $200,000. 

“Judge Ronald N. Davies did not believe that judges should self-promote or become famous as part of their work.  As a result, little is known about the impact of the Little Rock Central High School crisis on Judge Davies,” said Oberholtzer. “This local task force intends to change that by highlighting Judge Davies’ courage to stand up for what he believed.” In addition to the message about courage and conviction, the Central High School story provides a compelling look at civil rights, bullying and harassment.

The first phase of Judge Davies’ story was unveiled at a community symposium last fall in conjunction with the opening of the new high school named in his honor. Two members of the Little Rock Nine, Carlotta Walls LaNier and Dr. Terrence Roberts, participated in the symposium. Both are still involved with Phase II.  Dr. Roberts remains a member of the local project task force.

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