The Freedom Bus came to Ball State's campus Feb. 15, to allow students to see the exhibits inside. The bus is full of local civil rights history. Andrew Smith, DN
Freedom Bus visits campus as part of Black History Month
A bus filled with local history about the civil rights movement made a stop at Ball State's campus Thursday.
The Freedom Bus, a former Muncie Indiana Transit System (MITS) bus, was transformed into an outreach tool for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Dream Team.
It stopped on campus in order to advertise to Ball State students who either don't know about the bus or might not have the ability to see it.
"One of the big reasons is it's Black History Month, so a big thing we wanted to do is put it on Ball State's campus more," said Charles Binion, a Ball State student.
Binion is working on the Freedom Bus with other students to help the bus create a virtual walk through.
After experiencing some mechanical issues, the Freedom Bus partnered with Ball State and began fundraising in 2010. From there, the bus began traveling around to schools, conferences and other areas around Indiana.
The bus contains several exhibits — local leaders, underground railroad, employment, history of slavery, education and public spaces — some of which are interactive.
Beth Messener, a volunteer for the Freedom Bus and a Ball State professor, said in 2014 the bus became a Virginia Ball project.
"We basically started with an empty bus, except the wrapping on the outside," Messner said.
Messner said all of the research behind the stories featured in the bus were created by students, who traveled to other Civil Rights museum to learn about exhibit design.
The local leaders exhibit features six local civil rights leaders from East Central Indiana and allows people to hear them talk through a phone with the push of a button.
The bus was vandalized in the fall of 2016, and Messner said it left more of a psychological impact than a physical impact.
"Thankfully we had lots of friends who joined in and helped with that cleaning project," Messner said. "One of the things that we discovered was we have a lot of friends in this community who came out to support us."
The Freedom Bus will travel to Shaffer Chapel, located at 1501 E. Highland Ave., and will be there from 1-5 p.m. Feb. 23 and 24.