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Drowned In History
36 minutes | Sep 30, 2021
S1E7: Future Past: Memphis Heritage and Architectural Preservation
The modern architectural preservationist movement is nearly 60 years old. Many of the buildings that were erected in defiance of the initial preservationists are now themselves eligible for National Register status. For a society still rapidly changing, how is preservation changing with it? For a city like Memphis, a contradictory place of demand and decline, how does a tool like preservation help inform what our city becomes? To help answer these questions and more, join the conversation with Leah Fox-Greenberg, chief executive of Memphis Heritage.
48 minutes | Aug 6, 2021
S1E6: A Universe in Memphis: The Life of the Universal Life Insurance Building, a Conversation with Jimmie Tucker
On July 9, 1949, construction began on the headquarters for the Universal Life Insurance building on what is now the corner of Danny Thomas Blvd and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. in Memphis. The Universal Life Building would rise as a modern marvel of commerce, community and uplift, and a testament to the might of African-American businesses in the still heavily-segregated South. The hallways of the Universal Life Insurance building would echo through the latter half of the 20th century with the footsteps of some of the most significant figures of Memphis history, through some of the city’s most significant times. Footsteps still echo down those hallways, now home to the architecture firm, Self+Tucker Architects, who have revitalized and reimagined the space for a new age.
46 minutes | May 3, 2021
S1E5: On Chickasaw Land
Memphis has been called "the biggest city in the Chickasaw homeland." But since the forced removal of the Chicksaw - and other peoples - in the 1830s from the Fourth Bluff region, the people themselves have become distant from the landscape, opening the space to form a social memory of who they were and how they lived. It’s an ever-evolving wrestling and manipulating of the facts of the past to somehow make it seem complete. But this episode of "Drowned in History," joined by historian and Native RITES founder, Amanda Lee Savage, illustrates that no place and no people - no history - is ever complete.
68 minutes | Mar 22, 2021
S1E4: Under a Spanish Sun
In the late 18th century, the Spanish flag rose above the Mississippi at the site of the Fourth Bluff, a fort that the Spanish called Fort San Fernando de Las Barrancas. Though the Spanish presence may have been short-lived (1795-1797), its existence was the backdrop to a geopolitical opera between an ebbing empire, a nascent nation and fractured Chickasaw Nation politics. And further, it's just one place where the Spanish imprint, however faint, still echoes. Joined by Carrie Gibson, author of El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America, and University of Memphis historian, Bradley Dixon.
61 minutes | Jan 29, 2021
S1E3: The Lost Art - and Lasting Impact - of Vertis Hayes: A Conversation with Earnestine Jenkins
Vertis Hayes, one of the most renowned muralists of the New Deal-era, came to Memphis in 1938 to lead the Federal Community Art Center, a branch of the New Deal’s Federal Art Project. In his time in Memphis, he became the first chair of the art department at LeMoyne College, founded the Hayes Academy of Art, completed works across the city and influenced countless Memphians. Yet it’s hard to find a mark of his work in the city today. We speak with University of Memphis historian, Earnestine Jenkins, to learn more about his life, legacy and what's been lost with the physical loss of his work. Editor's NotePlease note the following corrections that Earnestine Jenkins was kind enough to point out in the recording: President Sweeney was not the president of LeMoyne College at the time of Vertis Hayes' appointment. The appointee at that time was President Andrew J. Steele. Not Aaron Douglas, and not Alain Locke (of note as a philosopher of the Harlem Renaissance) taught at Fisk University.
49 minutes | Dec 29, 2020
S1E2: (You Can't) Forget the Dead: Early Radicals, Alternate Histories and Dead Mayors, w/ Coriana Close
The final resting place of Marcus Winchester, the first mayor of Memphis, lies unmarked, underneath a city garage. Why has his memory been erased by "the infrastructure of our city?," asks artist Coriana Close. Was it because he was married to a woman of color? Associated with radical thinkers? Spoke French? What does the practice of discarding the dead and their stories tell us about who we are, who we could be and what we could have been?
23 minutes | Nov 9, 2020
S1E1: Looking, Listening for Furry Lewis' House
On the first episode of "Drowned in History," go searching for the home of blues legend Furry Lewis in Memphis' Medical District.
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