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About the Center for Southern Folklore
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History

The Center for Southern Folklore was founded in 1972 to document the people and traditions of the Memphis/Delta region. Over the last forty years, we’ve visited rural Delta homes and urban Memphis communities, to record men and women whose voices are rarely included in the history books, but whose stories, songs and lifestyles are the very basis of Southern culture.

Located in downtown Memphis the Center provides Memphians, students and tourists from across the globe a chance to learn about many facets of Memphis and the Delta.

Multimedia Archives

Called by Michael Taft of the Library of Congress as one of the most extensive archives of ethnographic materials in the country, the Center has amassed audio recordings, film and video footage television, historical and contemporary photographs, printed materials, and other artifacts that present mule traders and fife makers, folk artists and blues performers, salsa and soul musicians and much more. One of the centerpieces of the Multimedia Archives is the work of Reverend L. O. Taylor, a Memphis minister who used photographs, films, audio recordings, and printed materials to tell the stories of his community over a span of 40 years.

Revenues from the sale of the archival photographs, CDs, and DVDs help the Center match a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts that supports our work to digitize our collections and insure the preservation of these priceless images, recordings, and other materials for future generations.

Memphis Music & Heritage Festival

Each Labor Day Weekend we produce the Memphis Music & Heritage Festival. It is the Center’s signature event. With urban Memphis as our backdrop we showcase and celebrate of the music, culture, arts, and rhythms of the Memphis/Delta region. On five stages we present musicians, dancers, cooks, talkers, poets, folk artists, and craft vendors allowing festival-goers to celebrate Memphis’ musical roots and also enjoy many contemporary twists to our musical heritage.As one first time festival goer said, The Festival fits the entire spirit of the city into a few downtown blocks. It feels like we’re in some big metropolitan city, It’s really refreshing to see people who are warm to each other, just listen to music and relax. That’s the way it’s supposed to be. After people leave the Festival, they see each other differently. Their lives change, and for the better.

Cultural Tours and Educational Programs

The Center for Southern Folklore offers a wide variety of events, programs, and customized tours that showcase the music and cultural history of the Memphis/Delta region. To top off the programs we serve our yummy southern comfort food.

Heritage Hall

This is the area of the Center where you can watch films, see folk art, and enjoy a variety of photographic exhibits. On a given night you might see a show by southern soul bluesman Bobby Rush, a jookin’ contest by some of Memphis’ best dancers, or a Memphis Music Revue by Memphis Diva Joyce Cobb.

Folklore Store

The Folklore Store is the Center’s version of Alice’s Restaurant: part general store, art gallery and music hall. You can purchase regional folk art, archival photographs, great CDs and DVDs produced by the Center and regional performers while you listen to blues, jazz, hip hop, rockabilly, gospel and lots more. And you can sit down and relax, sample our peach cobbler, mac and cheese, meatless greens and hot water cornbread with coffee and other beverages. 

 

 

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Main Office & Folklore Hall:
119 S. Main Street
At Peabody Place Trolley Stop
Memphis, TN 38103

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©2008 Center for Southern Folklore
Folklore Store:
123 S. Main Street
At Peabody Place Trolley Stop
Memphis, TN 38103
Phone: (901) 525-3655
Fax: (901) 544-9965





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