EOT 369- Capital City Shufflers & Museum of Durham History

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Opening the episode is Technician News Editors Abigail, Emily and Heidi with the weekly news. Following the weekly news EOT reporter, Maha, will be interviewing Vanessa Monica and Gregory Jerrod of Capital City Shufflers. Concluding this episode, Maha, also speaks with Clay Harrison of the Museum of Durham. Covering the The Life and Legacy of Floyd B. McKissick Sr. Exhibit Opening at MoDH.

Brian Jurado 0:00
The views and opinions expressed on Eye on the Triangle do not represent WKNC or NC State Student Media.

Brian Jurado 0:14
You're currently tuned in to Eye on the Triangle here on WKNC 88.1 FM HD one, Raleigh.

Brian Jurado 0:30
Hello everyone this is Brian Jurado, the Public Affairs Director here at WKNC and host of Eye on the Triangle. We've got a great episode for y'all today. We're gonna be started off with Emily, Abigail and Heidi from the Technician as they run through their weekly news. Following the weekly news, we have two interviews for you today. Our first interview is with the Capital City Shufflers. And our last interview of the day will be with the Durham History Museum. So stay tuned.

Abigail Ali 0:58
Hello, guys, welcome back to Eye on the Triangle. My name is Abigail Ali. I am the news editor for Technician, and today I am here with...

Heidi Reid 1:08
Hey guys, I'm Heidi. I'm one of the assistant news editors at Technician.

Emily Vespa 1:12
And I'm Emily, I'm the other assistant news editor at Technician.

Abigail Ali 1:15
And today we've brought you some news tidbits from around the Triangle and, yeah, let's get into it.

Heidi Reid 1:21
Okay, so for our first tidbit, over half the women coming to A Woman's Choice, which is an abortion clinic for out of state patients, some coming as far as Missouri. Their spokesperson, Amber Gavin, said that they are currently serving women from all over the South, particularly the states that have outright banned abortion. And if you look at a little map of the states that have, we are completely surrounded, pretty much. South Carolina and Georgia the only other two, and they still have abortion bans of some sort. So only 14% of this patients were out of state in August 2021. And even some in state patients must travel over 100 miles to the triangle in order to receive a safe abortion. So I'm glad the Triangle has resources to provide safe abortions, but I think this reiterates that Roe v Wade, the overturn, is a classist as well as sexist decision because traveling is expensive. If you think about traveling from Missouri, like, whether that's plane or like, driving in a car, that's like, a lot of money. So a lot of women likely can't get to North Carolina or another state that performs safe abortions. And Republicans only need a couple more seats in the House to override Governor Roy Cooper's veto. So, super nervous about that with Election Day today, but we need to support local abortion clinics if we have the means, and it's too late to pull you guys in the voting since, well, today's voting day and you will not be hearing this till Sunday. But, I hope everyone voted.

Emily Vespa 2:43
Yeah, I was like, thinking the same thing when you said that, I was like, wow. So like, people who live in states where it's banned, like just, and can't afford to come here, like, that is just awful. So I do agree, like it does reiterate, we should be supporting local abortion clinics, for sure.

Heidi Reid 3:02
Yeah, and I don't know how like, I don't know if there's any ways people can get funding to those who need an abortion but don't have the means to travel to different state. I was like, I might look into that, because I feel like we need to support them just as much as local abortion clinics.

Emily Vespa 3:15

Abigail Ali 3:16
Yeah, definitely. And it's, that's like, one of the biggest reasons I voted this year, like. I mean, I like to vote anyways, but like this year, it was definitely, it felt important, just because we are one of few in the South that are still open to people to be able to get their abortions. And it would really, really, really suck if we weren't available for people anymore, just because it is getting harder and harder.

Emily Vespa 3:42
Exactly. Because if it gets shut down in North Carolina, then people would have to travel even farther, which is again, like really classist. So.

Abigail Ali 3:49
Yeah, and that would be a nightmare. Even if you were in the Triangle, you had all the sources you needed, that would be like, the most stressful thing to deal with, having to worry about figuring out how to get like, five states over. That's not fun.

Heidi Reid 4:04
Yeah, though, like it's traumatic enough going through that, like when you have good resources and the funding to do it, like, I could not imagine if I didn't have the resources and I lived in a state where it was literally illegal. So, this is why everyone should vote.

Abigail Ali 4:16
Yeah, yeah. If you didn't vote this time, make sure you do next time.

Heidi Reid 4:19
I'll be mad if they don't vote next time.

Emily Vespa 4:23
All right, so, my next tidbit is about Apex Police seizing drugs that were inside cereal boxes and candy bags at a vape shop. So apparently, they served a search warrant at Apex Tobacco and Vape store and they walked away with 116 chocolate bars with a schedule one substance inside, which I'm not exactly sure which one it was, 3.3 pounds of weed and THC cartridges, and they also walked away with drugs packaged in cereal boxes and bags of candy. So the news article on RA-, or WRAL, was talking about how some moms have indicated concern that since the drugs are packaged like innocent food items they wouldn't be noticed by parents, which I think is an interesting story, but I also think it kind of reminds me of like, how there were like all those like rainbow fentanyl scares that happened around Halloween and then Halloween, or experts are like, "okay, it's really unlikely, like, don't be too scared about it because it takes away from like the severity of just like overdoses and stuff too, to just worry about like Halloween candy." Um, but I thought it was really interesting that that's occurring at tobacco and vape shops and I guess watch out if you buy cereal at tobacco and vape shops. You don't wanna be surprised.

Abigail Ali 5:34
Yeah, I was just thinking that's like a random place to get those items. Well, not. I don't know, it makes sense that there's like, I don't know, drugs, I guess. But like, it's weird that people would choose like a vape shop to get cereal stuff anyways, and like candy.

Emily Vespa 5:50
I feel like an accidental problem with that happening is super unlikely because like, yeah.

Abigail Ali 5:55
Yeah, no, the target audience is already, like there, you know?

Emily Vespa 5:58
Yeah, exactly.

Abigail Ali 6:00
They're not targeting children.

Heidi Reid 6:01
Yeah, that has to be some sort of insider like issue or like deal like, you know, because like, who buys cereal from a vape shop. But imagine if you were high schooler like, addicted to nicotine. And you go to a vape shop and you're like, I want

Abigail Ali 6:13
Acess to something crazy.

Heidi Reid 6:15
A little snack. Like, what if you find like, some sort of terrible substance just 'cuz you were hungry at a vape shop? Like, I don't know. I don't know how drug dealing works at all. It confuses me a lot. Like, what happens if someone accidentally buys that, are you gonna be like? "No, you can't buy that." Like, I don't get it. But yeah.

Abigail Ali 6:29
It's a good point. Like, what?

Emily Vespa 6:31
I think it's less of like, to me, I think it's less of a concern for kids. But it is a concern like, for like, the high schoolers

Abigail Ali 6:37
People accidentally getting it. Yeah.

Emily Vespa 6:38
'Cuz like, vapes and nicotine, it's not great, but like it's not like a schedule one substance. Like, if you're going in and then you're gonna buy like a little chocolate bar, you might not know that it's like got something in it, you know? Yeah.

Heidi Reid 6:49
And also if they were selling schedule one drugs, like, no way they're ID'ing people and be like, "Yeah, you're not 21. You can't buy vapes here."

Emily Vespa 6:53
Yeah, so true.

Brian Jurado 7:03
Up next Maha will be interviewing the Capital City Shufflers.

Maha Syed 7:13
Hey, what's up? My name is Maha and you are listening to Eye on the Triangle on WKNC 88.1. FM HD-1 in Raleigh. Flash mobs. What? Yes, I'm here with Vanessa and Greg from Capital City Shufflers. Hey, guys, how are you doing?

Vanessa 7:26

Greg 7:26
Pretty good.

Maha Syed 7:28
Good, good. So can you guys tell me about Capital City Shufflers and tell the audience about it and uh, explain how it started?

Vanessa 7:36
Um, we're basically a community of people that love to dance, shuffling. And it started with me basically looking for other people with the same interest. One day I came along Greg, well, I didn't say that right. I came. Ah. I met Greg at the park, randomly, and we just started dancing together and been dancing together ever since. Me, him, Paul, and Yoni, and uh, Mike and Vanessa I think were there too.

Greg 8:13
And Jason as well.

Vanessa 8:14
Jason too. Yeah.

Maha Syed 8:16
So can you explain the history of shuffle? What is shuffling?

Vanessa 8:22
Shuffling started in the underground rave scene in Melbourne, Australia. And it started with Melbourne shuffling which then, um, I think Malaysian students were coming to Australia to study and they took shuf-, Melbourne shuffling back to Malaysia and kind of tweaked it and that started Malaysian style. And then we have like the Cali styles. And then I think cutting shapes came from London in the 80s. And Russian style, like, there's a whole bunch of different styles of shuffling.

Greg 9:06
Yeah, I really don't know anything about the history of shuffling. I real-, um, my first introduction to shuffling was way back. I know the party anthem song.

Maha Syed 9:19
LMFAO, right?

Greg 9:19
Everyday, yeah. I feel like a lot of people were introduced to shuffling in that video. And at the time I had no idea how to do it or what it was. Years later, finally started trying it out and then got with the group and everything. It's been good.

Maha Syed 9:38
My mind just got blown. So, I grew up on that song and I just realized "Everyday, I'm shufflin'" actually is shuffling. Okay everyone in the audience, y'all remember LMFAO? How can you not. When he says "Everyday, I'm shufflin'" and everyone was saying that and it was on the shirts, the stoplights, like, the stickers. Everything. They were talking about the dance. And we have that here in Raleigh now. Isn't that crazy? All this time later? Okay, I just had a whole epiphany in 10 seconds. Thank you so much. I did not know that. I didn't, well, I didn't realize that. I grew up on that song, for some reason. Thank you, Greg. Thank you, Vanessa. That's awesome. So, can you tell me more about Capital City Shufflers as a group, and the direction that it started in, and where it's going now?

Greg 10:33
Yeah so, like Vanessa was saying, we got like, a lot of just great people coming together, dancing, you know, periodically, like every few weeks or so. And, um, you know, everybody's just a good energy, a good vibe. And we're just trying to bring people together, bring the community together, just through music and dancing. And, you know, we're just growing a little bit. You know, we got our, our sister crew in Charlotte, Queen City. So it's a good time. So.

Maha Syed 11:06
What does dance mean to each of you?

Greg 11:10
Dance to me, is a form of expression. It's an art form, of course. It's just an extension of our creativity. It's how we express our emotions. And, you know, it's exercise that we all need. And it's like, a fun way of exercising.Yeah, it's, it's all that.

Vanessa 11:38
Dance is freedom of expression and creativity. And it's good for the soul and your mental health. And I just love it.

Maha Syed 11:49
That's awesome. I think that dance has helped heal both of you. And in a way you to use it as a means of like, physical exertion, I guess I would say like exercise, basically. But exercise is so important. I think that you know, how people get gym buddies and stuff like that. I think that Capital City has really helped build a community of like, I don't want to say gym buddies, I want to say like people who motivate each other to like, you know, push their goals and want to do better. Because I think for me, personally, the way I see it, as someone who has attended some of these meetings, I would say that, like, it helps a lot to have friends and family, who-, friends who you consider family or friends and family that motivate you to learn how to dance. For me, my goal and objective was to learn how to dance and be comfortable dancing. And I definitely felt the air of that at all the meetings that I've attended so far.

Greg 12:52

Maha Syed 12:52
And I hope to attend more soon.

Greg 12:54
Right. Well, you said like, there's this, there's this energy at the meetings that, like it gets you moving and gets everybody moving. It's just

Maha Syed 13:03
It makes you tired, but in a really, very, like rewarding way. The way exercise does. Yeah. But that's awesome. So what is the best thing about Capital City Shufflers? What is your favorite thing? I mean, this can be something that's publicly known, something that you keep in your heart that you want to share to the audience now. I mean, it's, it's whatever you want.

Greg 13:24
I think the best thing about Capital City Shufflers is, kind of what we've been talking about. Just the community aspect of it. And like I said, it's just a lot of great people that come out, and everybody just has this great energy about 'em. And we've all just formed these like, great bonds that carry outside of the group. And we've all become like really cool, cool friends and stuff. So I think that's the biggest thing. So.

Vanessa 13:53
Yeah, community definitely same. 100%. We're like a little family.

Maha Syed 13:59
Absolutely, absolutely.

Greg 14:01
And everybody's welcome. So.

Maha Syed 14:02
Yes, yes. So is Capital City planning on going global? Or are we staying local to the triangle?

Vanessa 14:12
Well, we've worked with other shufflers and stuff from other states. So one of the Chi Collective members from Florida came up, and we met, and we did a choreo together. So like, we just, you know, I want to meet shufflers from every state, if I travel. Like we've been to the DMV, which is DC, Maryland, Virginia and meet ups at, uh.

Maha Syed 14:36
I thought you meant the DMV. I was like, I guess y'all really do get down everywhere. But no, thank you for clarifying. So, uh.

Vanessa 14:51
DC, Maryland, and Virginia. The DMV Shufflers

Maha Syed 14:53
Oh, okay. Cool.

Vanessa 14:54
Yeah, so we went to Project GLOW Festival.

Maha Syed 14:58

Vanessa 14:58
We went to one of their meetups the day before the festival and then attended their meetups at, at the festival. You know, met some of them, we've hung out with some of them. Then we went to Baltimore to Moonrise and went to another meetup they had. It's just a vibe, you know what I mean. Like, meeting shufflers everywhere and people that have the same interest and community and just a, you know, loving feeling just all over. I just love it. It's great.

Maha Syed 15:28
I think that one thing that interests me most about what you guys were just talking about, and connecting with different states and different artists is like, when you, when I watch you two dance, right, there's so much like energy just around the movement, right? So I can only imagine how exciting it must feel to collaborate with people from all over the world. So how did how did you make it so that you met these people? What is what brought you, the, you and these groups together? What makes it so magical?

Vanessa 16:04
I connect with a lot of them on Instagram. So I'm always talking to shufflers from everywhere. And then I also take take classes from some of the OG Cali shufflers. You know, and they're pretty well known. Like MiGs and Taco. And then, Gabriel from, I think he's from San Jose, he came to our meet up a few months back. So yeah, I mean, I just talked to, I just talk to people. You know?

Greg 16:38
Yeah. And like, because we, we make dance videos. So we post on my Instagram, a lot of times, other shufflers will see them and then they'll reach out or they'll add you and then you just form this bond on Instagram before you even meet them. And then you do meet them at a festival and then you get to dance together. So yeah.

Maha Syed 16:58
Wow, that's amazing. It's like a, it's, it's so much bigger than I would think that it was because, you know, it's one of the things that everyone dances everywhere. And there's so many different styles, and so many different things that bring people together. So it's just like, amazing that like, without even talking or saying much, you can just connect and contact people. I mean, yeah, through social media shirt. But I mean, like, it must be, it must feel amazing to be both of you, and just dance with these people that you meet from, because I mean, I do interviews with some amazing people from around the world or the US, but like to dance with somebody. That sounds great. Yeah, that sounds so cool. I added that in there. I'm gonna cut that part out. But I added that in there, because I was curious. But that sounds like that sounds so amazing. Yeah. Now I'm wondering, what would you recommend for people who are a little scared to reach out, who are bad at dancing, have some sort of idea or belief, for whatever reason that it is, holding them back from joining Capital City Shufflers? What is some advice you'd give to someone who's scared to dance for whatever reason that is?

Greg 18:12
Well, I would say, like I said earlier, dance is an art form. And art is subjective. So, I don't think if you think that you're a bad dancer, you're not a bad dancer. And we're not going to make you feel like you're a bad dancer. So, like I said, everybody's welcome to the meeting. So if you come out and dance, like we will show you how to do it. And if you give it your all, we're gonna root you on, and cheer you on and all that stuff. And you're gonna have, you're gonna feel that energy. So there's no need to be afraid or nervous. And I get it, because I do struggle with that myself, but you just kind of have to push yourself out there and just, just let go and be free.

Vanessa 18:59
Exactly. Yeah. I would give the same advice also. Don't be scared. Like we're not judgmental people. We like to, you know, meet new people, you know, teach them you know, you want to learn, come come out to the meetups, and we'll teach you. There's no judgement. Everybody's really cool, really chill. And we all help each other grow. So, in more than dance also, like, yeah.

Maha Syed 19:26
And the meetups don't cost money, do they?

Vanessa 19:29

Maha Syed 19:29
Right. So it's just for community, and building, and learning. I love that. Yeah. It's like a it's like a public resource.

Greg 19:36
If you like having fun. That's the place to be. It's free.

Maha Syed 19:40
Absolutely. So quick question, a little personal, what is each of your individual histories with dance? How did you come to discover that this is what you like to do? Or what you want to do? Now, for the audience listening, I have seen Vanessa and Greg dance together, separately. I've seen tear it up. They are phenomenal shufflers, phenomenal dancers. How did how did it all start? For each of you?

Greg 20:08
Yeah. I appreciate that.

Maha Syed 20:10
Yeah, no, for real. I watched the Reels, I go to the meets. I watched the Reels more now because I'm just, it's cold and I'm busy. I want to make it to more, because I do love it. It's always, it's always a good time. But anyway, so.

Vanessa 20:26
What was the question?

Maha Syed 20:27
So what is your individual histories with dancing? How did you get into it individually? Like how did you start?

Vanessa 20:34
I went to EDC in 2016. And that was when I was in my little head banging phase. And I seen people shuffling and I asked my sister I was like, "what is that?" And I was like amazed just by looking at them for like maybe five minutes. And I always wanted to learn and I didn't really start until 2019.

Maha Syed 21:00
Before the pandemic?

Maha Syed 21:01
Yeah, a little bit before the pandemic. And so, my brother-in-law was like, "Oh, here's TikTok." And I was like, "What's TikTok?" I didn't know what TikTok was. He's like, "Yes, they're shuffling on Tik Tok. You can learn how to shuffle through TikTok." So I started off, you know, watching little videos here and there and trying to learn on my own. And then I started taking classes with different shufflers, online classes. Yeah, and that's about it for me.

Greg 21:33
Yeah. I think we probably started around the same time. I feel like I started right before the pandemic. Taking it a little more seriously because like, like I said, I was introduced to it, yeah, that LMFAO video, but

Maha Syed 21:49
Oh, so after 2012, you started getting into dance through that video.

Greg 21:52
I saw it, and then I never really tried it until later. But like right before the pandemic, my buddy Jani, he was like the first one that actually showed me like shuffling and stuff. And then I was like, "Ok, that's pretty cool." And I didn't try it for a minute. And then when I was at home alone one day, I was like, I'm going to try to learn this and then started recording myself to see what it looked like. And then pandemic happened, then you had nothing else to do. But yeah, so that's how I started basically.

Maha Syed 22:27
Okay, okay. Now, musical events are only as good as the music itself. So are there any specific DJs that you would like to give a shout out to and who are the DJs who work with Capital City Shufflers?

Vanessa 22:41
We have Bebo and, from United House Productions. Yes Peas, Duplex, Duvaldo, Ambien Ann

Greg 22:57

Vanessa 22:58

Greg 23:00
There's a lot.

Vanessa 23:02
Sean from Rabbit Hole. I'm trying to think, did I miss anybody? Tracy? Yeah.

Maha Syed 23:13
So do all these DJs play at the same time? Or do they play like, just based on availability? How does that work?

Vanessa 23:19
I just reach out to them and see, you know, what the availability is if they want to do it, you know. And most of the time, they're down. A lot of the DJs are really generous with their equipment and stuff, too. So they'll bring out like their subs. Their big CDG, CDs, is it CDJ? CD, DVD, whatever. The big thing, the big

Maha Syed 23:43
The big speaker thing? The table? Oh, the board.

Vanessa 23:47
The board but there's like certain names and I'm like really, like, completely, I don't know what I'm talking about. I know it's CD, something. CDJ?

Greg 23:47
Yeah. Sounds right to me.

Vanessa 23:48
Yeah, so they bring out all their equipment. And you know, they're just very generous in that nature. And we love them for that. So, yeah.

Greg 24:06
And it's a lot of good local talent. So, if you come to a meet up, you're gonna hear some of the best DJs around in this area, to showcase their thing while we're doing our thing. You know.

Maha Syed 24:20
Didn't one of the DJs open Masseria and or Bass Walker? Is that right?

Vanessa 24:24
Not, no, not. Well, Yes Peas played last night. Yeah, he did it back to back with Mysteria last night. I think Bebo has opened for Walker Moyse. Exactly. That was huge. I think who opened for, was it Mechoda? At Alchemy? One of them did.

Maha Syed 24:52
I believe it was Yes Peas. I think I saw it on the Instagram when you guys posted on Alchemy, right? Yeah. That was awesome. That's really cool. That's really big.

Vanessa 25:03
Yeah. So they've opened for some big DJs and it's exciting for them and exciting to watch. Yeah.

Maha Syed 25:09

Greg 25:10
And we've kind of, grown with them, a little bit. Especially, Bebo. Like, I feel like as a community, like with the shuffle group and them, DJ and everything, like we've all grown together. It's a beautiful thing.

Vanessa 25:23
Because some of the, some of the shufflers actually started as shufflers and then moved on to DJing. So like, Tracy, DJ Apa, she was a shuffler. Well, she was always a DJ, too. And then Paul Bebo. He started shuffling and then started DJing. And, Jason, same thing. Yeah.

Maha Syed 25:45
Okay. Okay. I mean that's

Vanessa 25:47

Maha Syed 25:48
Yeah, that's amazing. I didn't realize until I put it all together. Because to me, I just be scrolling through the timeline. And I just see these cool events, and I want to go to them. But that's, that's amaz-, that's a really big deal. That's really cool. Okay, I have one more question for y'all. And then I'll let you go. Cut. So how can people find out more about these events that you host?

Maha Syed 25:48
So we post them on Facebook and Instagram. I usually try to do meetups twice a month. And I always post a week before the event, just, you know, so people, it can get around a little bit, for people to come out and hear about it or whatever. So.

Greg 26:36
So just make sure you follow those pages. And we all, like all the members of the group, we try to repost it and everything. So if you're following us or whatever it's out there. Like, we share all the meetups and stuff.

Vanessa 26:51
And it's all levels, styles, and flows welcome. So even if you're like a hip hop dancer, you can come, you know, groove with us. It doesn't matter if you're if you mess with the silk fans, or have that kind of flow, or staff or anything, hoop, you know, come on out.

Maha Syed 27:09
Absolutely. I love that. So it's very self expressive. It's a safe space. It's free, unless it's a ticketed event.

Vanessa 27:18
We do have one ticketed event, which is November the 11th. It's a warehouse after party that we've never, nobody in Raleigh's ever done that before. So it's a big deal. It's from 11 till 6 in the morning and it's a secret location.

Maha Syed 27:36
Oh, is that what a warehouse party means?

Vanessa 27:39
Like, it's underground, kinda. That's why it's like

Maha Syed 27:42
Oh, oh, oh. Okay.

Vanessa 27:45
It's like the after-after.

Maha Syed 27:46
So like, I don't even know how to ask like, what, like, how do I do? Like, what do I do? I want to go.

Vanessa 27:53
The flyer is on the page

Maha Syed 27:55

Vanessa 27:56
And it has like a QR code you can scan to get all the info. Tickets are 20 bucks. If you wait to the day of it's 25. And I will be releasing the address to the location 24 hours prior to the event, just in case for people who want to just pay at the door. Last minute. So we've got a lineup full of like amazing local DJs. Seven of them. It's going to be, it's going to be a lot of fun.

Maha Syed 28:25
That's awesome. So I'm like still trying to understand. So if we see this flyer, or we see this event posted, do we reach out to you for the address? Do we do a puzzle? A riddle? I don't know. Because I mean, I've heard of these parties, but I've always been like, I've always just seen people just get a text with the address or they show up with like, a picture and they give a password at a door. How do I like, how, what, what do you do?

Vanessa 28:53
So there's a link in my bio.

Maha Syed 28:55

Vanessa 28:56
So you go to the link and it should have instructions on how to pay, when the address will be be released, what kind of party it is. All that. Yeah.

Maha Syed 29:08
Oh, okay. So it's like, it's not known until the time of?

Vanessa 29:14
Yeah. So I'm gonna, I'm gonna release the address like, 24 hours prior to the event.

Maha Syed 29:19
Oh. Okay. That's how people do it. Great. That makes way more sense. Okay, that's awesome. Well, I appreciate it. Thank you so much for being on the air and sharing about your beautiful group and what you do, I love and support you both. And I love and support Capital City Shufflers. Thank you so much. Thanks, everyone. This is Maha. Signing off.

Maha Syed 29:54
Hey, what's up everyone, this is Maha with Eye on the Triangle on WKNC. 88.1 FM HD-1 in Raleigh. We are joining Clay Harrison with the Museum of Durham History and looking forward to speaking about the new exhibit on Floyd B. McKissick opening on November 18th, 2022. Hey Clay, how are you?

Clay Harrison 30:12
Hi Maha, I'm doing great. Thanks for having me.

Maha Syed 30:16
Great. Can you introduce yourself and your affiliation with the museum, please?

Clay Harrison 30:21
I'm the operations manager here at the Museum of Durham History. And I've been with the museum for a little over a year now.

Maha Syed 30:29
Do you consider yourself a historian?

Clay Harrison 30:32
I've always been interested in historical documentation and archive work so it just kind of fit.

Maha Syed 30:39
So in your own words, who is Floyd B. McKissick?

Clay Harrison 30:44
Floyd B. McKissick is an icon. I think that is the best word to describe him. He was an attorney, a civil rights leader, brains behind the Soul City community, utopia here in North Carolina that was planned to be a safe haven for people of all colors. The museum is very excited to host this exhibit because Floyd McKissick is when, when someone thinks of the Civil Rights Movement, they think of Martin Luther King, Jr. They think of Rosa Parks. Malcolm X, and closely behind those big names is definitely Floyd B. McKissick Sr., a Durham native.

Maha Syed 31:26
Absolutely, absolutely. What kinds of events have taken place in Durham?

Clay Harrison 31:32
The museum proudly displays stories throughout Durham's history that aren't too well known. Everyone is familiar with Duke University and the legacy of the Duke Family. Everyone at least has some inclination of the tobacco industry that used to exist here. However, the Museum of Durham History focuses on those stories that are not told too often. And when I give my regular tours of the museum, I always have this narrative that Durham did it first. Durham has a lot of great stories from its pasts of things that happened first here. For example, the, probably the most impactful one was the Royal Ice Cream Sit-In in 1957. When people think of North Carolina's civil rights history, they usually believe it started in 1960 over in Greensboro at the Woolworth counter luncheon. However, in 1957, the North Carolina Civil Rights Movement started right here in Durham with the Royal Ice Cream Sit-In. 1898, the NC Mutual Life Insurance Company began. That is the, it's still operating to this day. It is the first life insurance company to offer policies to African Americans. And another more contemporary example is Zweli's Piri Piri. Zweli's is the first Zimbabwean restaurants, in not just Durham, but in the entire US.

Maha Syed 33:04
I don't know much about the Hayti community. It is a word that has been thrown around in my classes that I wanted to ask you about, now. So can you tell me what is the Hayti community and what happened to them in Durham?

Clay Harrison 33:19
Sure. So, the Hayti community, it still exists to this day. It is located south of Durham's Downtown district. South, southeast, thereabouts. The Hayti community was home to Durham's Black Wall Street. It was a thriving business area for African Americans, especially post-Civil War, post-industrialization here in Durham. And it is still very much celebrated to this day, especially through organizations that the museum works with the Hayti Heritage Center, big shout out to them. As a matter of fact, we're collaborating with them on the upcoming McKissic exhibit.

Maha Syed 34:03
That's fantastic.

Clay Harrison 34:05
Unfortunately, the Black Wall Street district of Durham was very much affected by the Great Depression and World War Two and the spirit of Hayti was also killed. Essentially, Durham's re-innovation of its downtown district in about the 60s and 70s, Durham tore down a lot of old buildings and replaced it with the buildings that are currently standing. And unfortunately, that and as well as the installation of Highway 147 right through downtown Durham, that the city took up a lot of land that was in the Hayti community and used it to install the highway. So, you hear, you hear the word "killed" thrown around when you talk about the spirit of Hayti. However, as I just mentioned previously, the museum, the Hayti Heritage Center, a lot of local historical organizations work to keep that, the memories of the Black Wall Street alive.

Maha Syed 35:03
That literally shattered my heart. So, essentially, like if I got this right, right? Because I haven't done much research or delving but I figured it would be credible to ask a member affiliated through the museum about my historical burning questions. Hayti was a community founded in Durham that was essentially a Black Wall Street and like accelerated the progression of financial independence for the Black community. And it essentially became like gentrified and torn down through the city deciding to build highways basically, is what you're saying? And then now, it's kind of like, it's still here and alive, but it's not as physically big or as grouped as it was before the Great Depression? Is that right?

Clay Harrison 35:51
That's a great summary of it. Yes.

Maha Syed 35:53

Clay Harrison 35:53
As a matter of fact, speaking to our past exhibits, we had a visual exhibit entitled "Lost to the Loop" and it talks about the downtown loop here in Durham. It's essentially a circle that loops around the city center. And it was part of that Industrialization era of Durham in the 1960s, 1970s. That destroyed a lot of old buildings, specifically in the Hayti community. Yes, gentrified is a great word of what happened in Durham at that time.

Maha Syed 36:27
So question about the museum. When did the museum open and how has it served the black community and the Durham community at large?

Clay Harrison 36:38
Sure. So, as a matter of fact, the museum just celebrated its ninth birthday a few weeks ago. We moved into our current space at 500 West Main Street in downtown Durham on October 12th, 2013. So, next October will be our our one decade anniversary. We're very, we're very excited for it.

Maha Syed 37:02

Clay Harrison 37:02
Yeah. How we have served Durham's community, specifically marginalized communities. As I mentioned earlier, we try to tell Durham stories that aren't mainstream that aren't well known. For example, the upcoming exhibit "The Life and Legacy of Floyd B. McKissick Sr." While he is definitely a Civil Rights icon, he might not be the first person that people think of when they think of the American Civil Rights. I want to correct a statement I said earlier, he's not a Durham native, but he is definitely well established here in the area, his family still lives here. And so we serve the community, specifically those marginalized communities by telling those stories that aren't well known.

Maha Syed 37:47
Right, right. That's that's personally how I believe real history is so I really can get behind the values of the museum because it's not like hidden or unknown history. Its history that was, in my mind, intentionally attempted to be painted away or chipped away at by elitists whose agenda it just wasn't serving. Now, I wanted to ask you a question Clay, who is your favorite activist and why?

Clay Harrison 38:16
My favorite activist, goodness. That's a great question. How can I choose? Maybe, you know what, I'll give two different answers. On a Durham level, I think my favorite icon from Durham's Civil Rights history is the Reverend Dr. Pauli Murray. She is a legend in the purest sense of the word. She was a very cool woman during her time, she was the first African American woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest. She had her PhD, so, quite literally her full title is the Reverend Dr. Pauli Murray. And a fun fact she she did some case work with Ruth Bader Ginsburg when they were both still alive.

Maha Syed 39:02
Where can people find information about these exhibits and upcoming events?

Clay Harrison 39:06
Absolutely. Our website is very accessible. It's just modh.org., will take you right to our homepage. There you'll find our blog, our events, any upcoming exhibit programming. You can also find all of our online exhibits, contact information, hours, location. You can find it all at modh.org. On Twitter and Instagram, you can find us at @durhamhistory. No spaces, no caps. For this upcoming exhibit, the full title is "The Life and Legacy of Floyd B. McKissic Sr." The main exhibit will open here at the museum on November 18th. However, this is a very special exhibit because we will have two satellite displays. So, the main text will be here at the museum. We will have, we just opened our satellite display just in time for NC Central's Homecoming at the Turner Law Building at 640 Nelson Street. That particular satellite display looks at a lot of the lawyer work and casework that McKissick had done in his life. And we will also have a satellite display at the Hayti Heritage Center. Right off the top of my head I don't know the address, I'm very sorry. But it'll be the first thing if you just Google "Hayti Heritage Center" it's the first thing that pops up. And that satellite display will focus a little more on McKissic's political ideology and the Black Power movement.

Maha Syed 40:39
Perfect. Perfect. That sounds amazing. I can't wait. I personally want to check that out. That sounds right up my alley. Upcoming on November 18th is going to be the Floyd B. McKissic exhibit. If you're interested in learning more, or checking out the museum and their upcoming events, check out the website and social media pages that were mentioned in the podcast. Thank you guys so much. Thank you, Clay.

Clay Harrison 41:05
Thank you very much for having me, Maha.

Brian Jurado 41:24
Well, that is all for today's episode of Eye on the Triangle. I want to thank Emily, Abigail, and Heidi for their awesome weekly news. I also want to thank Clay from the Durham History Museum and Vanessa and Greg from Capitol City Shufflers. Hope everyone has a lovely rest of their week. Music for today's episode has been Tupelo Honey by Chris Hogan, licensed under the YouTube Audio Library.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

EOT 369- Capital City Shufflers & Museum of Durham History
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