The Stax Museum Celebrates 20th Anniversary With Film ‘Soul of America: The Evolution of Soulsville’

The Soulsville Foundation has announced that it will debut 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 on February 3, 2023. This year’s film is a special celebration of the Stax Museum’s 20th Anniversary.

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 a study guide for students and teachers created by the Soulsville Foundation and meant 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.

A duet between Rufus and Carla Thomas called “Cause I Love You”

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. 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.

Stax Music Academy Executive Director Isaac Daniel says:

This has become one of our trademark presentations of the year. 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.

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.

Stax Music Academy 2023 Black History Month Production, Soul Of America: The Evolution of Soulsville Teaser from Stax Music Academy on Vimeo.

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. Those who register as educators will receive the study guides in advance in January to help students prepare for the experience.

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.

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