At the Crossroads of Crossroads: the Purple Team’s Fifth Week

The fifth week of Crossroads (the half way mark—wow!) has represented something of a turning point for all members of the Purple Team. After broadly exploring the roots of the Evergreen Historic District in the Memphis/Shelby County Room at the Memphis Public Library, we have now begun to hone the focus of our research within the context of an overwhelmingly diverse project, which, like Memphis, cannot be classified rigidly according to one unique chronology. Dr. Bette Tilly, the author of several influential studies on the Vollentine and Evergreen neighborhoods, was kind enough to meet with us earlier in the week at the Memphis/Shelby County Room to discuss the basis of her research and help us establish contacts within Evergreen. In keeping with the 2009 team’s motto, “Stories of Struggle, Stories of People, Stories of Memphis”, the Purple Team has continuously sought to provide as broad a framework as possible in telling the stories of the many communities that comprise this city.

In accordance with our research philosophy, the sources that we have drawn upon this week alone have been typically extensive. We spent the beginning of the week reading sermons and correspondence from the collection of James A. Wax, a prominent Memphis rabbi, whose progressive views on race and religion offer a striking counterpoint to the fearful and often hateful rhetoric of other concurrent sources during the civil rights era. Following Dr. Tilly’s enlightening colloquium on Wednesday, we have gone about selecting various documents and interviews in the archives at the Memphis Public Library among the Evergreen and Oral History collections for digitization. In order to bolster the foundation of our study with current perspectives on issues of historic import, we attended an Evergreen community potluck on Thursday evening in order to promote Crossroads and inform the residents of our research. In less than fifteen minutes, we had already made several valuable contacts with members of Evergreen, who were anxious to share stories of their community. This Saturday we will receive an official tour of the neighborhood before continuing our work in the library next week.

I am proud of what we five intrepid members of the Purple Team have accomplished at this momentous half-way mark and what we have yet to accomplish. Kudos to all the Crossroads fellows!

Mack Zalin
Purple Team

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Published in: on June 26, 2009 at 1:38 pm  Comments Off on At the Crossroads of Crossroads: the Purple Team’s Fifth Week  
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