In The Telling: Black Family Podcast

Archiving the black family experience is a very exciting project for us. Archiving is not always something that is physical and tangible; it is sometimes in the telling. If we are fortunate, we learn our past from those who lived it. Oftentimes, it is by our own efforts and labor to uncover pieces of truth about our family history. This is what we will explore in this bi-weekly podcast, people sharing stories about their families and how they came to learn them.

Let us know what you think and if you are interested in being a guest on the show contact us!

Episode 5Grief as a Family Story
00:00 / 29:36

Alexis De Veaux was born and raised in Harlem. She is the product of two merging streams of black history in New York City--immigrants from the Caribbean on her mother’s side and migrants from North Carolina on her father’s side who settled in Harlem in the early decades of the Twentieth Century. The second of eight children, that history was embedded in her mother’s view of life: as she would say, “you got three strikes against you. You poor, you black, and you female.” But Alexis was drawn to the world of words and books, and literature soon became the means by which she re-imagined the world her mother understood. She is the author of many books including Na-Ni, (1973); Spirits in the Street (1974); Blue Heat: A Portfolio of Poems & Drawings (1985); Don't Explain: A Song of Billie Holiday (1988) and Warrior Poet: A Biography of Audre Lorde (2004) and Yabo (2014).

In this episode, Alexis talks about grief and loss as emotional states impacting black family life from her point of view. Check out the photographs above for the images of the bookstate Alexis made for her sister Renee.

Original music by Sean Bempong.

Episode 4Speaking Through Edith
00:00 / 31:13

Alexis Pauline Gumbs is a community-cherished writer, a queer Black feminist scholar and an aspirational cousin to you and everyone you know. Alexis is the author of Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity (Duke Press, 2016), M Archive: After the End of the World (Duke Press 2018) and Dub: Finding Ceremony (Duke Press, 2020). She is also the co-editor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines (PM Press, 2016). The Anguilla Literary Festival called Alexis "The Pride of Anguilla." A Publisher's Weekly starred review of her most recent book called her work "groundbreaking." Bitch Magazine calls Alexis "a literary treasure." North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green says "Like Audre Lorde, Gumbs writes for the complexity of her vision." A proud Barnard graduate, Alexis was the first person to research in the archival papers of Audre Lorde at Spelman College, June Jordan at Harvard University and Lucille Clifton at Emory University during her research for her dissertation "We Can Learn to Mother Ourselves," towards the completion of her doctorate in English, African and African American Studies and Women and Gender Studies at Duke University. Alexis is now the provost of the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind in Durham, NC, and co-founder of the Black Feminist Bookmobile, Black Feminist Film School and the Mobile Homecoming Trust Living Library and Archive of Queer Black Brilliance. Alexis is also Creative Writing Editor of Feminist Studies and celebrant in residence at NorthStar Church of the Arts in Durham, NC.

Original music by Sean Bempong.

Episode 3Being Raised by Ethel and Thelma
00:00 / 27:43

In this episode of In the Telling, Christopher Stahling talks about his two seminal figures in his life, his grandmothers Ethel and Thelma. Both women lived together in Harlem and deeply impacted Christopher as a youngster, though differently.  Join us for enjoyable and thoughtful stories about these two special women--and learn about Chris, too!

Christopher Stahling is life coach, mixed media visual artist, caterer and healer. Native Harlemite. That's him in the photo, you'll learn that he's so much more. Have a listen. 

Follow him on IG @insatiablelion. 

Original music by Sean Bempong

Episode 2Searching for John Mims
00:00 / 01:04

In our second episode, we interview Miranda Mims, co-founder of the Nomadic Archivist Project (NAP), an initiative devoted to developing relationships and beginning conversations around preserving legacy, memory, connection, and trust in the African diaspora. She is the Special Collections Archivist for Discovery and Access and Curator of modern literature and publishers, human rights and social justice, and local LGBTQ history and culture in the Department of Rare Books, Special Collections, and Preservation (RBSCP) at the University of Rochester. Miranda has been actively researching her family history for the last 15 years, from reconstructing the lives of her grandmothers, Fannie Pearl Bowen and Lucella Atwater Stillwell, to her efforts in uncovering the truth about her great Grandfather, John Mims. It has been hard at times because there are so many missing records, including the 1890 census - which could have been an important piece to John's story, if it wasn't destroyed in a fire in 1921. 


*After hearing this episode, my mother told me my first time involved in genealogical research was when I was a month old when she took me to a census-taking training.

Original music by Sean Bempong


Glad you are here to join us on our very first episode of In the Telling!

Our first episode features NAP's co-founder Steven G. Fullwood - writer, archivist, and amateur photographer and filmmaker. His published works include Black Gay Genius (2014), and Carry the Word: A Bibliography of Black LGBTQ Books (2007). Fullwood is the former associate curator of the Manuscripts, Archives & Rare Books Division at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. He is the co-founder of the Nomadic Archivists Project, an initiative that partners with organizations, institutions, and individuals to establish, preserve, and enhance collections that explore the African Diasporic experience. He’s currently exploring his filmmaking interests through documentary work. He is a regular contributor to the American Age podcast. Fullwood enjoys reading about neuroscience, astrophysics, and watching science and nature documentaries.

Original music by Sean Bempong

Episode 1Elaine's Boy
00:00 / 01:04

© 2020 The Nomadic Archivists Project (NAP)

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