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Hutchins Lecture by Charles L. Hughes
November 5, 2015 @ 4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
The music of the South has long been a central metaphor for the region’s tumultuous racial history. Genres like country and soul remain symbols for the real and perceived borders between black and white, while the long history of interracial collaboration in southern music offers a defiant counter-narrative to the South’s troubled history. In this alternative story, there are few more celebrated moments than the integrated recording studios of Memphis and Muscle Shoals in the 1960s and 1970s. To this day, studios like Stax or FAME are held up as sites of Civil Rights-era progress or even utopias where skin color didn’t matter. This narrative of racial harmony has become central to both scholarly and popular understandings of the South’s cultural and political history. But, as historian Charles L. Hughes will discuss, this mythology obscures a more complex story of racial collaboration and conflict. In this lecture, drawn from his acclaimed book Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South, Hughes will discuss the ways that this mythology has distorted our understanding of the music, its makers, and the contexts from which it emerged. This lecture will be held in the Hitchcock Room at the Sonja Haynes Stone Center for Black Culture and History.
Dr. Charles L. Hughes is the Director of the Memphis Center at Rhodes College. Country Soul was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2015. He has spoken and published widely on race, music and the South. This event is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served.