The City of Chattanooga, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and WUTC-FM 88.1 have partnered together to highlight the history of M.L. King Boulevard through student podcasts.
The original podcast series, “Stories From the Big 9,” will launch on Wednesday, Jan.
30. The series will be celebrated with a public launch party that evening at 5:30 p.m. at the Bessie Smith Cultural Center featuring several students sharing excerpts from their podcasts and talking about what they learned about the historic corridor and its important role in Chattanooga’s past, present, and future. Admission is free but reservations are recommended. Reservations and more details are available at Eventbrite.
“It’s important that we keep the spirit and history of the Big Nine alive,” said Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke. “This is a great chance for young people to tell old stories.”
East Ninth Street has a storied history as the home of much of Chattanooga’s African-American culture, where black-owned retail shops, offices and entertainment venues lined the street. In 1981, East Ninth Street was renamed Martin Luther King Boulevard to honor the slain civil rights leader.
“My students had just ten weeks to find and research their stories, interview their subjects, and produce final versions of their podcast episodes,” said Will Davis, instructor and WUTC Outreach manager. “We heard important stories and made new friends. This project is a great example of learning through experience.
James McKissic, chief operating officer at the Urban League of Chattanooga, said getting younger generations invested in the evolving story of M.L. King Boulevard will help keep its history alive.
“These podcasts turned out amazing,” Mr. McKissic said. “I am so grateful to the students and their professor for focusing on such an important piece of Chattanooga’s history.”
All the podcasts will air on WUTC-FM 88.1 in February and will also be available on www.wutc.org.