We live in the age of information, but how often do we think about what has been lost—or nearly lost? From memories left on discarded machines to the voices of ancestors trapped on obsolete media, we are losing parts of human history each day.
In theme-based seasons, Material Memory explores the effects of our changing environment—such as digital technologies, the climate crisis, or global human displacement—on our ability to access the record of our shared humanity, and the critical role that libraries, archives, museums, and other public institutions play in keeping cultural memory alive.
Cradle of Student Protest
Travel to Nashville, Tennessee, “the cradle of student protest,” to learn about Fisk University’s activist legacy–from the Jubilee Singers in the 1800s to the sit-ins of the 1960s to Black Lives Matter today.
Travel to the Lowcountry of South Carolina to learn about the Mather School, founded after the Civil War to serve the newly freed, and the Gullah Geechee people, whose traditional way of life is threatened by gentrification.
By Actions and Not by Words
Dive into Tuskegee University’s vast collections, from the notebooks of George Washington Carver to archival speeches from luminaries Myrlie Evers, Shirley Chisholm, Amelia Boynton Robinson, Jackie Robinson, and Muhammad Ali.
If Walls Could Talk
Learn about Alcorn State University student life–and civil rights protests–in the 1960s, and how a community-centered approach to librarianship has made Alcorn indispensable to the people of Lorman, MS.
Walking on Sacred Ground
Morgan State University archivist Ida E. Jones discusses the history of Maryland's largest HBCU and how it is deeply entwined with the history of Black politics, activism, and media, particularly in Baltimore.
Cadence to the Rhythm of Life
Kofi Amu Horne, who created the theme music for this season, started drumming with his Ghanaian mother before he was two. Here, he talks about drumming as a spiritual practice and its importance to the African diaspora.
A must listen
Amazingly rich episodes. Appealing both to the intellect and the emotions. A true gem.
The focus of the new season is HBCU’s and as an HBCU grad I love it! Sharon Burney does an excellent job uncovering the history of places that have often been overlooked. So needed!
Compelling and informative
Really enjoyed learning about such an interesting intersection between cultural memory and climate change. Keep up the good work!