Exploring Our Stories.
StoryBoard Memphis is a nonprofit multimedia resource for news and feature-length stories on local arts, culture, history, and community.
This podcast is a longer cut of the half-hour radio show that airs on Memphis's FM 89.3 WYPL each Sunday evening at 5:30 PM. Taken right out of the pages of StoryBoard Memphis, this show asks Memphians to talk about their passions, their initiatives, or to just talk about what makes Memphis, Memphis.
SB 30 Episode 72: Dr. Earnestine Jenkins and the Legacy of Black Metalworking
“Like the endurance of the metal itself, contemporary Black artists sustain the historic and symbolic significance of working with iron that began with ancient practices of blacksmithing in Africa,” Dr. Earnestine Jenkins.
Dr. Earnestine Jenkins, visual culture historian and professor at the University of Memphis, and host Mark Fleischer discuss From Artisans to Artists: African American Metal Workers in Memphis, a new exhibit curated by Dr. Jenkins at the Metal Museum.
Through its celebration of artisans and artists from West and Central African through to modern-day Memphis, this exhibit examines the role of the blacksmith in diverse African contexts and how that artisan identity and associated blacksmithing practices changed in America due to slavery.
Among those metal workers featured are the enslaved blacksmiths of two local plantation sites, the Hunt Phelan House and the Hilderbrand Plantation; blacksmiths and entrepreneurs Blair Hunt and David Carnes; and contemporary artists Richard Hunt, Lorenzo Scruggs, Hawkins Bolden, and Desmond Lewis. From Artisans to Artists draws on the knowledge and research of guest curator Dr. Earnestine Jenkins, who utilizes surviving artifacts and primary source documents from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean to bring to the forefront a crucial part of Memphis’s artistic history.
From Artisans to Artists: African American Metal Workers in Memphis is open now through September 11, 2022, at the Metal Museum.
SB 30 Episode 71: Local Author Shelley Moore
Shelley Moore and Mark Fleischer sat down in the Memphis Room at the Memphis Public Library to talk about Shelley's first book Through a Blue-Eyed Lens: Reflections - Snapshots - Pinholes.
When Shelley arrives from the outer reaches of Wyoming, her new stage is Memphis, a segregated city increasingly steeped in conflict and turmoil. By recounting the ways in which she navigated both social and historical constructs, Shelley unearths a storehouse of deeply personal memories. Through these selective reflections, she reveals the wildly unpopular decisions and consequential choices that found her estranged from one community and embraced by another.
To order a copy, visit Shelley's website.
SB 30 Episode 70: A Shell for all Memphians with Overton Park Shell Executive Director Natalie Wilson
“It’s a gift from Memphians to Memphis, in the belief that free concerts bring people together and build community. There’s nothing like it. Food and music. 19 months of being in the pandemic, and being dark, people realize truly how important this place is. It is the heartbeat of our city, and it is something that we need. We all need it. We need the joy that comes from the Shell.“
That’s Natalie Wilson, Executive Director of the Overton Park Shell, who recently announced a brand new chapter in the Shell’s 86-year history with a rebranding that returns the historic park band shell to its roots with a restored name: The Overton Park Shell.
Recorded in the Shell’s historic Green Room, join SB 30 host Mark Fleischer as he sits down with Natalie Wilson to talk about the Shell’s history in Memphis, its upcoming programs and sustainability, and the gift to Memphis that is the Overton Park Shell.
SB 30 Episode 69: Jeffrey Robinson and the filmmakers behind Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America
“We’re fifty years later now (since the tipping point of the Civil Rights era and the King assassination), and once again, young activists in America are making Americans take a look in the mirror in terms of our true history of race and racial prejudice. Once again the young activists are calling us to account. Once again America is having to look at issues of race dead in the eye. And once again, we are at a tipping point. And the question for all of us is, What are we going to do about it?”
That’s civil rights lawyer Jeffrey Robinson, speaking to a packed audience in 2018 in New York City’s Town Hall Theatre and for the cameras in the award-winning documentary Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America. The film interweaves moments from Mr. Robinson’s lecture series with personal anecdotes, location interviews, and shocking revelations. Here criminal defense and civil rights lawyer Jeffery Robinson draws a stark timeline of anti-Black racism in the United States, from slavery to the modern myth of a post-racial America.
Benefitting The Who We Are Project, the film was completed in 2021, is being distributed by Sony Pictures Classics, and arrives here in Memphis for a special screening and Q&A on Thursday February 24, 2022, at the Crosstown Theatre. It began a local run February 25, 2022, at Malco’s Studio on the Square.
Listen as Jeffrey Robinson and the film’s co-director Emily Kunstler sit down in conversation with StoryBoard 30 host Mark Fleischer to discuss the film and the issues of racism in America.
SB 30 Ep 67: “History is closer than you think.” An interview with historian Bill Carey
Join host Mark Fleischer as he talks with historian and Tennessee History For Kids executive director Bill Carey, as the two discuss the importance of learning history, about the controversies around ‘critical race theory,’ and about the 2021 in-person TN History for Kids Summer Road Shows in West Tennessee.
SB 30 Episode 66: Writing historical fiction with Memphis author Susan Cushman
“My characters meet at Ole Miss, when there were very few Black students on the campus, in 1966. In February of 1970, on campus, a group called Up With People gave a concert. And there was this huge protest where 60 Black kids were arrested. Eight of the those students came to be known as the Ole Miss Eight. (The character) John is a composite of two of the men who were part of the Ole Miss Eight.”
That’s author Susan Cushman, talking about writing her book John and Mary Margaret, and how she weaved her fictional characters into the very real and historical civil rights events in Mississippi and Memphis during a fifty-year span. Join host Mark Fleischer as he talks to Ms. Cushman about her new novel and the practice and teaching of writing.