Airs Friday, October 4, 2013 at 9:00 PM on 90.3 WCPN
New England Public Radio presents, “An Audacious Act: How a High School Dropout Helped Educate America.” This hour-long documentary looks at 19th century Congressional legislation—The Morrill Act—that established many of the country’s public universities and colleges or “land-grant” schools.
The program is written, produced and hosted by veteran journalist, Lisa Mullins.
The Morrill Act, signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln in 1862, has since helped educate more than 25 million students. It was passed during a tumultuous time in U.S. history, even before the cannons of the Civil War went silent. It’s a fascinating story, winding its way through 20th century innovation, the Civil Rights Movement, the establishment of Black and tribal colleges, leading up to today.
The impact of land-grant schools can be seen directly in their own communities and around the world; more than 3.5 million undergraduate and 1.1 million graduate students are currently enrolled. Many land-grant schools are first rate research institutions, working in fields as diverse as their student populations. “An Audacious Act” follows Ohio State University to Lima, Peru, where it is working with Peru’s National Agrarian University to help small farmers learn the proper use of pesticides to keep food safe, and a student from China who chose to study statistics at North Carolina State because of its reputation in his field.