Annual Local History Roundtable

Annual Local History Roundtable

Out of consideration for the health of our community, the 12th Annual Local History Roundtable was entirely online. 2021's theme, Leading the Charge for Change, explored the way West Michigan women have collaborated to create change in their communities. Recordings of all presentations are available below.

12th Annual Local History Roundtable: Leading the Charge for Change

Solidarities: White Women and Women of Color's Activism to Secure the Vote

This program took place on Monday, March 1, 2021 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am. View a full recording of the program here.

The Nineteenth Amendment ostensibly provided women the right to vote; yet, access to voting was not equal as Black, Indigenous, women of color remained disenfranchised. This presentation will place women's suffrage in conversation with the broader movement toward civil rights for Black, indigenous, people of color. Nationally-recognized scholars Liette Gidlow and Allison Lange join Sophia Brewer and Jo Ellyn Clarey from the Greater Grand Rapids Women's History Council in exploring white women and Black, indigenous, women of color's efforts to secure the vote.


Lesser Known Women in West Michigan History Roundtable

This program took place on Wednesday, March 17, 2021 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am. View a full recording of the program here.

David M. McCord (Ionia County Historical Society), Brenda Nemetz (Lakeshore Museum Center), and Kristen Wildes (Ada Historical Society), will highlight West Michigan women whose accomplishments might not be known outside of their communities, but who impacted an untold number of people as a result of their work in various industries. Recognizing their efforts reflects a commitment to preserve the stories of everyday Michiganders, and how women have leveraged their own abilities and interests to make change.


Grand Rapids Women & Their Work During the Great War

This program took place on Monday, March 1, 2021 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am. View a full recording of the program here.

Katelyn Bosch VerMerris will examine both the paid labor and volunteer contributions of women in Grand Rapids during WWI. Utilizing rich primary sources, this presentation will dive into how women used the upheaval of war to achieve their own training and goals, while also providing essential contributions to organizing for the war at home and abroad.

Local History Roundtable

Past Roundtables

  • 2020 (Women as Changemakers): The 11th Annual Local History Roundtable, scheduled for March 2020, was cancelled due to COVID-19. The 12th Annual Local History Roundtable will have a similar theme and feature some of the presentations that had to be cancelled in 2020.
  • 2019 (Connections Along the Grand River) Held at GVSU's L. William Seidman Center; featured speakers included: Jan Brashler (GVSU) and the following local history organizations and historians—Ada Historical Society, Allendale Historical Society, Boston/Saranac Historical Society, Cascade Historical Society, Grand Rapids City Archives, Eastmanville History, Grand Rapids Historical Society, Grand Rapids Public Museum, Grand Rapids Public Library, Grandville Historical Commission, Ionia County Historical Society, Jenison Historical Association, Lamont History, LGROW, Lowell Area Historical Museum, Ottawa County Parks and Recreation, Plainfield Historical, Portland Area Historical Society, Tri-Cities Historical Museum, Wallace and Jane Ewing, and Paul Trap
  • 2018 (Returning to our Roots: Explorations of Western Michigan's Diverse Communities) Held at GVSU's Kirkhof Center; featured speakers included: Ronald J. Stephens of Purdue University, Kathryn Remlinger (GVSU), and Andrea Riley-Mukavetz (GVSU)
  • 2017 (Reconstructing Home): Held at GVSU's Mary Idema Pew Library and Information Commons; featured speakers included Professor Bich (Beth) Minh Nguyen (author of Stealing Buddha's Dinner), Julie Tabberer, Head of the Local History Department and Special Collections at Grand Rapids Public Library, and Nathan Nietering of Saugatuck-Douglas History Center. 
  • 2016 (Changing Communities): Held at GVSU's Mary Idema Pew Library and Information Commons; featured speakers included Todd Robinson (author of City Within a City), Tim Gleisner (now of Herrick District Library), and Delia Fernandez (Michigan State University)
  • 2015 (Food, Farm, and Table): Held at the Grand Rapids Public Library, featured speakers included Hank Meijer (Meijer, Inc.) and Ellen Messer (Tufts University).
  • 2014 (Immigration and Civil Rights): Held at the Holland Museum, featured speakers included Bing Goei (State of Michigan) and Nora Salas (GVSU)
  • 2013 (Natives, Settlers, and Founders: Our Shared Community History): Held at the Grand Haven Community Center, featured speakers included Eric Hemenway (LTBB), Wallace Ewing, and Marjie Viveen
  • 2012 (Transportation and Waterways): Held at the Annis Water Institute in Muskegon, featured speakers included Kevin Finney (Jijak Foundation), Carl Bajema (GVSU), Daniel Yakes (MCC), Christine Byron (GRPL), and Tom Wilson
  • 2011 (Meaning of the 150th Civil War Commemoration): Held on GVSU's Allendale campus
  • 2010 (General meeting): Held on GVSU's Allendale campus