Hidden Voices - Because We're Still Here (And Moving)

I just saw the 10:00 AM performance of Because We're Still Here (And Moving) at the ArtsCenter. If you're not familiar with the show yet, it's a theatrical retelling of 140 years of Chapel Hill and Carrboro's African-American History. The fine people at Hidden Voices have spent two years working in the community to collect hundreds of stories and photographs.

The production was wonderful. It uses an authentic style of African-American multi-generational storytelling to make connections between the past and present. I most enjoyed the stories of Ruth Stroud, especially her recollections of her grandparents' story about being freed from slavery. I also picked up a copy of the accompanying neighborhood walking tour guide, and I learned so much about what was here (long) before I arrived in 1998.

I highly encourage you to see the FREE production tonight at 8:00 at the ArtsCenter. And if you know a young person that you can take with you, make sure you do. It has the potential to be a wonderful opportunity for community building.

I sat with Euzelle Smith at the performance. She and I laughed throughout, and I'm pretty sure I saw her pull out a tissue. Once the performance was over, she said "I've been around here a long time, and I knew a lot of those things but I learned a lot too." She told me that when she and R.D. moved to Chapel Hill, they lived in the section of Northside called Pottersfield (they still live there). "Where I came from in Newport News, Pottersfield was the name of the slum," she told me. "I never did tell my parents that we lived in Pottersfield here."

I have to add that two of our students from the Blue Ribbon Youth Leadership Institute appear as outstanding actors in the production!

If you get to see the show, I'd love to hear your thoughts.




I'm at the ArtsCenter and this place is packed! (Thanks to Alex Zaffron for telling us to come early for a seat.) The crowd includes young and old folks from the neighborhood, elected officials, activists, and just all kinds of folks.

The maps here are amazing. Will post pictures later.

We just got back from this evening's performance before a full house. What an amazing retelling of this important history of a community! Talk about making history come alive, this did it. Very powerful!
I was very moved by last nights performance. I can't stop thinking about it all. I feel as if I understand my community much better now. When I walk down the street I think about what and who was once there. Contemplating the future of all people in our community. Also I hope they can put this on again. Organizations and individuals need to donate to this group. Such a important thing to support.

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