Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center (part 1 of 2)

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Photo by Sophia V. Nelson/The Merging Lanes Project

Meet Mary Dennard-Turner, part of the Maryland Park Service staff at the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center located in Church Creek (Dorchester County) Maryland.

An area native. For several years she has been an active member of the local heritage preservation society. She was retired when the Maryland Park Service approached her to work as a greeter at the visitor center. She said when she retired as a corrections officer she told herself she’d never wear another uniform again. Yet, there she was, complemented by that beautiful white, green and red Maryland Park Service seal; one of the first faces to greet a few groups and I when we entered the visitor center on Tuesday.

She shared she had just crossed over the 1 year mark as a seasonal employee and is enjoying herself.

More on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad Visitor Center to come.

Michael Rosato’s Cambridge (Maryland) African American Heritage Mural

The African American Heritage Mural is located at the corner of Maryland Avenue and Route 50 in Cambridge, Maryland. 

Oooo I didn’t plan to capture this beauty today. I saw photos of it about a year ago, circulating online after its unveiling. But when it appeared to the right of me as I was driving by, I just had to pull over || Here is a description found on muralist, Michael Rosato’s website: “A mural highlighting Cambridge, Maryland’s rich African-American history, culture and heritage, particularly in the community around Pine Street, which is one of the oldest African-American communities in the country that dates back to the mid-1800s. Acrylic on board || I plan to look up the history of Pine Street. …Hey! There’s my girl Gloria Richardson !!in the yellow dress. Read about her while taking an African American history class at Georgia State University. It amazed me how Richardson was instrumental in a civil rights movement that spilled over into small town Maryland during the 1960s. I included Image 4, to give you a bit of context. Many are familiar with that picture of Richardson ~ “The Historian”

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Shaolin Jazz at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum

The first time I visited the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum, which was probably back in ‘07, I knew the space was special. Tucked away in the community of Anacostia, miles from it’s other Smithsonian counterparts, it is one of the “quieter” museums. For those who have experienced the Smithsonian corridor located near the Washington Monument, you know the wait times to get into certain museums and exhibits can sometimes take hours, days, and weeks. But not the Anacostia Community Museum. Now, in no way shape or form is this a reflection of the quality of exhibits and programming that are being produced at the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum. The space continues to provide the intellectual value that founder John R. Kinard and company delivered years ago. Encouraging visitors to reflect on everything from DC’s environmental concerns to the history of the Gullah Geechee people. And in most cases when there is a special program like a film festival or exhibit opening night, the museum event space is standing room only. Yesterday was an example of that || Yesterday, while I was stuck in traffic, I decided to break up my drive and stretch my legs a bit by visiting the Anacostia Museum. I started out by viewing and making my mark on the @amandalburnham @cultural_dc installation “Block Watch”. Followed by catching a performance by @shaolinjazz then I finally took a self-guided tour of “A Right to the City”. And I’ll just say everything about Burnham’s Mobile Art Gallery, the museum’s exhibit design and the live music performance was amazing….here are a few clips from that experience ~”The Historian”

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Soon come: African American Cultural Center in Virginia Beach

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Image 1: Afro American Cultural Center at Yale University, est 1969 //Image 2: conceptual plan of the African American Cultural Center in Virginia Beach.

Yale’s Afro American Cultural Center is recognized as the first of its kind at an Ivy League school and the largest in the Northeast. With years of providing a variety of cultural, spiritual, mentoring, and tutoring services, the current Afro American Cultural Center at Yale dean, Dean Risë Nelson is championing the development of the African American Cultural in Virginia Beach.

In a keynote speech given to those working to bring Virginia Beach’s cultural center to fruition, Dean Nelson shared the following: “We are always a part of the conversation on campus and in New Haven; we do not let ourselves become invisible; our calendar is chock-full of events to bring people in continually… we believe that the history and traditions of the African diaspora should be celebrated by all Americans and members of society; the welcome mat is always out.”

[source: The Virginian-Pilot]

Podcast – “The Promise: Life, Death, and Change in the Projects”

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Photo by Joel Buglewickz

Adapted from New Yorker Magazine Article

“The Promise: Life, Death, and Change in the Projects”

Reporter Meribah Knight has produced a six-part series podcast on Nashville, Tennessee’s public housing development, James A. Cayce Homes. This story follows the razing and redevelopment stages of Cayce Homes. Knight described yearly household incomes of Cayce’s original residents as being somewhere around $8000 per year.

Redevelopers have coined the revitalization project “Envison Cayce” and the podcast “The Promise” gives an inside look at the enthusiasm and skepticism felt by Cayce’s longtime residents. After the razing of Cayce Homes’ original structures, the contemporary version welcomes a diversified community consisting of young professionals, while giving those who’ve been there for years the choice to remain. Only this choice comes with a no pet policy, at least 50+ security cameras, and “nowhere to sit outside and talk”

Pictured is Big Man, one of the podcast’s interviewees. A longtime resident of James A. Cayce Homes, he signed on to remain in the community to see if the revitalized “Envision Cayce” housing development will turn out to be the imagined safe place for him and his family to live.

[source: Sarah Larson, New Yorker Magazine]

Carver Village: Seeking National Register of Historic Places Designation

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In 2016 I documented residents in Savannah Georgia’s Carver Village to find out why they felt it important to have their residential neighborhood placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Since then, Georgia Department of Natural Resources (Historic Preservation Division) has determined that Carver Village does have national significance. The community has been placed on both the Georgia State Register of Historic Places and the National Register of Historic Places.

(Atlanta) “Maynard” Film Screening

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(Atlanta) Things to do, 4/14 & 4/22 – “Maynard” Film Screening

Maynard Jackson III, the only son of Maynard Jackson Jr (first Black mayor of Atlanta) has spent the past two years working to produce a film about his father. Maynard III and wife Wendy Eley Jackson are cofounders of Auburn Avenue Films. The two secured the support of director Sam Pollard, who has edited and directed a number of Spike Lee’s documentaries. Pollard had one requirement, he needed and was given full creative control.

Audio recordings of Maynard Jackson which were stored at Emory University, were used to inform the film. The film also incorporates Maynard Jackson Jr ephemera, interviews with Andrew Young, Kasim Reed and all 5 of Maynard Jrs children.

Link to Atlanta Magazine Article