Wednesday, June 10, 2009
The Center for Southern Folklore outdoes itself, which isn't easy
Full disclosure: I am a member of the board of directors for the Center for Southern Folklore.
Last night, an event thirty-two years in the making took place at the Center, with the opening of the online exhibit, TAYLOR MADE, the collection of the photographs, films and audio recordings of the Reverend L.O. Taylor of Memphis.
Reverend Taylor took photographs and made films and recordings of life in Memphis in the 1920 through the 1950s, and thanks to the work of the Center's archivists, they have been able to digitize this collection so that you may access it from your computer.
As Michael Taft of the Library of Congress noted at last night's opening, what makes this so very special is that this is documentation of the African-American community from the INSIDE, and not from white Northerners who had no idea about the culture of the South or the African-American community. This is truly unlike anything you have seen, and what's great about this is you can PARTICIPATE as well!
If you see someone in one of the films, photos, or recordings that you recognize, there is an email address next to that item, and we urge you to email us with that information, as there are lots of unidentified people in these pieces.
I want you to visit this exhibit, so that you get a full understanding of what the Center for Southern Folklore does, day in and day out, as we're not just the producers of the BEST FREE FESTIVAL IN MEMPHIS.
Of course, I personally want to thank Elisa, Changzhi, Bridgett, Tim, and of course, the lovely Lauren, who worked on this before coming to work with me, for the yeoman's work they did on this project.
I'll let the words of our director, Judy Peiser, sum this up: