Dr. JoEllen Vinyard

Dr. JoEllen Vinyard taught at Eastern Michigan University for 32 years and has had a particular interest in the Klan.

Dr. Vinyard began teaching at Marygrove College in 1964. She then went on to receive her Ph.D. in social history at the University of Michigan in 1972. She joined the History faculty at Eastern Michigan in 1986.

Vinyard has taught classes in U.S. History, many of which focused on social and political history, and reform movements. She would regularly schedule a bus tour of Detroit for her Michigan History class and allow students to see firsthand some of the historic locations and buildings they had been studying. On the graduate level, her Hist. 529 (History of Detroit), and Hist. 535 (Studies in the History of the Family in the U.S.) proved ever popular.

Dr. Vinyard has published extensively with titles that include: The Irish on the Urban Frontier (New York, 1976), For Faith and Fortune: The Education of the Catholic Immigrants in Detroit 1805-1925 (Champaign Urbana, 1998), and a textbook on Michigan History that is used by fourth graders in Michigan schools. Her latest book, Right in Michigan’s Grassroots, From the KKK to the Michigan Militia (Ann Arbor, 2011), has earned attention in response to topical national events. Her expertise on right-wing militia movements has led to national and international new interviews.

In addition to conversation about the Klan to talks about The Bridgman Convention Raid of 1922, The Purple Gang, and the times.

Here is the transcript of our conversation with Dr. Vinyard.