The Soulsville Foundation has debuted its third annual free virtual Black History Month presentation created by the Stax Music Academy in conjunction with the Stax Museum of American Soul Music. This year’s film is a special celebration of the Stax Museum’s 20th Anniversary. It is free to everyone.
Watch the film and access our study guides at this link:
The 2023 virtual presentation, “Soul of America: The Evolution of Soulsville,” is free of charge to anyone in the world and is of special interest to students, educators, schools, school districts, and other youth organizations. The film is accompanied by elementary, middle, and high school study guides created by the Soulsville Foundation and mean to make the multimedia experience much more interactive than in years past.
The new Black History Month virtual film and educational experience focuses on youth efforts to revitalize the South Memphis neighborhood known as Soulsville USA, which includes the original site of Stax Records and is now where the Soulsville Foundation campus is located.
In the film, those efforts are met with the help of some legendary artists that made the neighborhood famous, and features the music of Isaac Hayes, Otis Redding, The Bar-Kays, Rufus Thomas, Eddie Floyd, and Johnnie Taylor, to name just a few. Videos have been filmed by Stax Music Academy students at such historic locations as Beale Street, the Stax Museum, the National Civil Rights Museum, and the historic Metropolitan Baptist Church in the heart of Soulsville USA.
The virtual Black History Month presentation is an idea rooted in the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, when the Stax Music Academy switched from its annual BHM performances for a limited live audience to virtual content available globally. We marketed the films specifically to young people around the world at no charge as a type of “virtual field trip.” In 2021 and 2022, more than 200,000 people from every state and numerous foreign countries viewed the films and learned more about the history of Stax Records, the Memphis Sound, soul music, and the evolution of African American music.
“This has become one of our trademark presentations of the year,” said Stax Music Academy Executive Director Isaac Daniel. “We are in the heart of where African American music was created, and we have the incredible legacy of Stax Records in our DNA as well. It’s what we do best. We now feel like it’s almost our duty to share this music with young people around the world because we are the only music school and museum in the world dedicated to preserving Stax and the Memphis Sound.”
Daniel adds that the study guides are meant to be fun, but also useful. They are meant to empower youth to explore their creative agency, identify and recognize their values, and determine the ways in which they will choose to be of service to their communities,” he says. “Our ultimate desire is for students to connect with the power of community and the rich musical history of Stax Records and be inspired to create art that is relevant to their current experience.”
The 2023 virtual Black History Month presentation with study guides is free of charge (users may make donations) to anyone and students, teachers, schools, and other youth organizations may register at this link:
The Title Sponsor for the Souslville Foundation’s 2023 Black History Month presentation is Valero Benefit for Children. Other sponsors include International Paper, Newberry Tanks, Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, Adams Keegan, and Choose901.