The 6-part audio documentary, Hot Corner, is a story of what one block in Georgia shows about the dividing lines in our lives, and what Black communities have built in the spaces between. It is also a contribution to ongoing efforts to document and share the history of Hot Corner, the famed Black business district in downtown Athens, Georgia. The project was created by Alexander Stephens and Broderick Flanigan, in partnership with Enlighten Media Productions and in consultation with the Hot Corner Association.
For more about the documentary, visit www.cornerhistories.com
Find more from Enlighten Media Productions at www.facebook.com/EnlightenMediaProductions
To learn about the work of the Hot Corner Association and the annual Hot Corner Festival, visit https://hotcornerathens.weebly.com
Episode 6: Still Here
In the final episode of the series, Broderick and Aleck go back to Hot Corner. They hear how its spirit is kept alive through the efforts of longstanding business owners, the work of the Hot Corner Association, and the ways that young people are building on the tradition of creating spaces for Black life in Athens. Hot Corner has changed, but it is very much still here. The question is, what will the future bring?
Episode 5: Town & Gown
For a lot of students and visitors, the University of Georgia is "Athens." There is no doubt that the school has a huge influence on the town, but while many Black Athens residents work on campus, it is not a place where they have always felt welcome. The same can be said of some parts of downtown that mainly cater to the student population. Aleck and Broderick examine how these conditions have shaped the lines of segregation in downtown Athens in recent decades. What they find helps to explain why Hot Corner remains such an important place.
Episode 4: Under Pressure
As the 1980s began, only a handful of the traditional Hot Corner businesses remained in place. The Manhattan Cafe, a popular restaurant and bar owned by the Wade family, had weathered the many changes that took place in Athens over the preceding years. Then, in 1983, things changed again. The Manhattan Cafe got some new neighbors, courtesy of the Athens Police Department. Broderick and Aleck ask why the local government decided to create a police “substation” just a few doors down from the Cafe, and they explore the impact of this decision on the last spot for Black nightlife on Hot Corner.
Episode 3: Business as Usual
During the decade that followed the landmark civil rights legislation of the 1960s, there was a steep drop in the number of Black-owned businesses on Hot Corner. In what has become a sort of standard story that people tell about Black business districts in the South, this shift often gets presented as a side effect of civil rights victories. But when Aleck and Broderick look into the history of the large historic buildings that anchored Hot Corner, they find out that there’s more to it than that. In the 1970s, when most downtown Athens businesses were struggling, Hot Corner was on its own – with one big exception.
Episode 2: Back in the Day
To understand how segregation evolved after the civil rights movement, it’s important to understand what segregation was like before. Broderick and Aleck talk with people who worked on Hot Corner in the 1950s and 1960s, when it was a “Mecca” for Black economic and social life in Northeast Georgia. They also hear about Hot Corner’s significance for the local high school students who led the Athens civil rights movement. That struggle helped to bring about the end of Jim Crow – and the end of the system under which Hot Corner had been built.
Episode 1: Boxes
In the first episode of this 6-part series, Aleck and Broderick introduce themselves and their hometown of Athens, Georgia. Growing up they could see that segregation didn't simply disappear after the 1960s civil rights movement. So, they ask a question that a lot of people ask about the places where they live: why is our town so "boxed" up? In Athens, the history of Hot Corner promises some answers.
an engaging, meaningful, well-researched history pod
I listened to this podcast in the recommendation of a friend and couldn’t have been happier about it. It’s well-produced, the writing is stellar, the music adds to the ambiance of each other episode, and the analysis on race, gentrification, and property ownership is always on point.
Aleck and Broderick are great interviewers, bringing out the best parts of interviewee accounts while never over shadowing those who are speaking. Their reflections on their own racial experiences-as a white man and a Black man-are also engaging, honest, and vulnerable. A+ work.