Shelf Life Community Story Project
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Shelf Life on Low Power FM!
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We have some very exciting news for radio listeners who love the Shelf Life podcast. We are on your radio. Your actual radio. 

Seattle has several brand new Low Power FM stations. LPFM is community radio at the neighborhood scale, brought to you by your neighbors!

And the Shelf Life podcast is available on three of those stations. If the word "podcast," makes you feel anxious, because you don't know what it is or how it works, just switch on the radio in your car or kitchen or garage, and we'll be there too!

KVRU, 105.7, Rainier Valley Radio, is airing the Shelf Life podcast, Mondays at 5pm; repeats Saturdays at 5pm. You can hear KVRU in Rainier Beach, Columbia City, Beacon Hill, and the CD.

KHUH, 104.9, Hollow Earth Radio, airs the podcast on Wednesdays at 5pm. Get KHUH in the CD and Capitol Hill.

SPACE 101.1, will air the podcast Tuesdays at 2pm and Sundays at 1pm. Hear SPACE in Sandpoint and elsewhere in NE Seattle. 

Shelf Life Podcast!

 

You've waited long enough!! The Shelf Life podcast is here.


What if neighborhood stories could change the way we think about community; what it means to have it, and what it means to lose it?
Starting May 17th, the Shelf Life Podcast will bring you stories from Seattle’s Central District.
Hear from the people who built the neighborhood that shaped this city.
Their stories are funny, heartbreaking, and really relevant to what is happening in our city today.

Find the podcast on iTunes and Soundcloud.
The show will also air on your FM dial on Hollow Earth Radio, KHUH-LP 104.9 FM, Wednesdays from 5:00 - 5:30pm, starting May 23rd;
and on Rainier Valley Radio, KRVU 105.7 FM, (day and time TBA).

 More information on Twitter @ShelfLifeStory, on Instagram at shelf_life_stories,
on Facebook at Shelf Life Community Story Booth, and on our website at shelflifestories.com!
Podcast produced by Jill Freidberg, Mayowa Aina, and Domonique Meeks. Original score by Bubba Jones.
Funded by King County 4Culture. 

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Experiencing Displacement

Stories from Central District residents about how they are impacted by the displacement taking place in their neighborhood, followed by suggested resources (books and films).


 Vicky Garner. Portrait by Henry Luke. Vicky Garner has lived in the Central District since 1960.

Vicky Garner. Portrait by Henry Luke. Vicky Garner has lived in the Central District since 1960.


 Marie Kidhe. Portrait by Jill Freidberg. Marie grew up in the Central District and works at the Northwest African American Museum.

Marie Kidhe. Portrait by Jill Freidberg. Marie grew up in the Central District and works at the Northwest African American Museum.


 Isiah Anderson. Portrait by Jill Freidberg. Isiah moved to the Central District in the 80s and raised his son here. He runs the Teen Summer Musical program for Seattle Parks and Rec.

Isiah Anderson. Portrait by Jill Freidberg. Isiah moved to the Central District in the 80s and raised his son here. He runs the Teen Summer Musical program for Seattle Parks and Rec.


 Narvella Jackson. Portrait by Jill Freidberg. Narvella moved to Seattle from Oklahoma at the age of 4. 

Narvella Jackson. Portrait by Jill Freidberg. Narvella moved to Seattle from Oklahoma at the age of 4. 


 KL Shannon. Portrait by Jill Freidberg. KL grew up in the Central District and is a long-time community and labor organizer who was mentored by the late Tyree Scott.

KL Shannon. Portrait by Jill Freidberg. KL grew up in the Central District and is a long-time community and labor organizer who was mentored by the late Tyree Scott.


 Al Doggett. Portrait by Jill Freidberg. Al is an artist who has lived, and taught art, in the CD since the early '60s. 

Al Doggett. Portrait by Jill Freidberg. Al is an artist who has lived, and taught art, in the CD since the early '60s. 


 Vivian Phillips. Portrait by Jill Freidberg. Vivian grew up in the CD, worked at KYAC radio, and is a leader in Seattle arts and culture.

Vivian Phillips. Portrait by Jill Freidberg. Vivian grew up in the CD, worked at KYAC radio, and is a leader in Seattle arts and culture.


 Sky Sawyer. Portrait by Jill Freidberg. Sky grew up in the CD.

Sky Sawyer. Portrait by Jill Freidberg. Sky grew up in the CD.


 Aretha Basu. Portrait by Jill Freidberg. Aretha grew up in the CD, the only Indian kid in an apartment building full of Mexican families. 

Aretha Basu. Portrait by Jill Freidberg. Aretha grew up in the CD, the only Indian kid in an apartment building full of Mexican families. 


 Gary Hammon. Portrait by Inye Wokoma. Gary grew up playing music in Central District clubs and was in the first cohort of black musicians admitted to the New England Conservatory. 

Gary Hammon. Portrait by Inye Wokoma. Gary grew up playing music in Central District clubs and was in the first cohort of black musicians admitted to the New England Conservatory. 


External Resources


Even The Walls
As bulldozers raze their neighborhood, public-housing tenants reflect on decades of experiences and grapple with losing their tight-knit community to a rapidly gentrifying city.

Seattle Black Panther Party 50th Anniversary

This week is the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Seattle Black Panther Party Chapter. Here are some stories we've recorded with people who participated in, or benefited from, the Seattle Black Panther Party.

 Mark Cook by Henry Luke

Mark Cook by Henry Luke


 Mike Tagawa by Jill Freidberg

Mike Tagawa by Jill Freidberg

 Cecil Beatty and Phyllis Yasutake by Inye Wokoma

Cecil Beatty and Phyllis Yasutake by Inye Wokoma


 Stephanie Johnson-Toliver by Jill Freidberg

Stephanie Johnson-Toliver by Jill Freidberg

And I've Been There Ever Since

Fifty years ago today, on the same day that Dr Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated, DeCharlene Williams opened her beauty salon in Seattle's Central District neighborhood. In the first story, DeCharlene talks about how hard it was to start a business as a young, black woman. In the second story, Marie Kidhe talks about the importance of her regular childhood visits to DeCharlene's salon. 

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Love Letter to the Red Apple

At the end of 2017, the Red Apple grocery, at 23rd and Jackson, closed forever. This week, it was demolished to make way for market rate apartments.
Listen to community members talk about what the Red Apple meant to them. 

 Isiah Anderson by Jill Freidberg

Isiah Anderson by Jill Freidberg


 Kristi Brown by Jill Freidberg

Kristi Brown by Jill Freidberg


 Gary Hammon by Inye Wokoma

Gary Hammon by Inye Wokoma

 Queenie Bradford by Jill Freidberg

Queenie Bradford by Jill Freidberg


 KL Shannon by Jill Freidberg

KL Shannon by Jill Freidberg


 Tralaina Jones by Inye Wokoma

Tralaina Jones by Inye Wokoma


 Mike Moss by Jill Freidberg

Mike Moss by Jill Freidberg


 Aretha Basu by Jill Freidberg

Aretha Basu by Jill Freidberg


 Lulu Miles by Jill Freidberg

Lulu Miles by Jill Freidberg

 Cap Kotz by Jill Freidberg

Cap Kotz by Jill Freidberg


 Bridget Albright and Family by Carina del Rosario

Bridget Albright and Family by Carina del Rosario


 Vicki Garner by Jill Freidberg

Vicki Garner by Jill Freidberg

Shelf Life Community Story
My Opportunity to See Beauty
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Marie Kidhe

I grew up getting my hair done at DeCharlene's. She gave me my first curl. Me and my mom, yes, when I was ten. So I spent many, many Saturdays in that shop on Madison. It was hot! Because she didn't have no AC, and it was pressing irons and dryers and roller sets and my god it was hot. My brother hated it. He had to come. It was an all day process. My mom would pack two lunches for us, because it was my mom getting her hair done and then me getting my hair done. She had a TV up in the corner. She would watch soaps and game shows all day. We always went on a Saturday, of course, cause my mom worked during the week and I went to school, and it would literally be an all day function. We would get there at like 9 and be there for 5 or 6 hours. But I loved it, because I've always been into hair and fashion, and she would have these extraordinary dresses from all these different places, and they'd be boutique glamour dresses, and if I was good sometimes I'd get a dress that fit me, as I got older. And then she had this plethora of hats. So for me, it was just wow. I'd come to this place and it was just fancy. And you know she has always been a beautiful blonde, and so you'd come in to see what blonde look was she rocking this weekend, and she'd be selling tickets for some community event that was going on, so sometimes she'd need to stop so she could go to the front desk and sell a ticket, for maybe it was Ebony Fair, cause she used to help them when they would come into town. 

My mom and her would talk about everything. A lot of times...back then grown folks business really applied back then, like I would have to go sit on the other side with my brother, and there was the TV and the dryer, so I couldn't always ear hustle the way that I had hoped to. She had stations, it would be divided by a rack of clothes and dryers, so sometimes you couldn't hear everything they were talking about, which in hindsight I think was kind of a good thing. It kept us in our place as children and allowed us to be children, and not be in such a race to grow up so fast. But it would be everything...bills, who is with what man, church on Sunday, those types of things. I loved it. I felt like, as a young girl, it was my opportunity to see beauty. 

Shelf Life Community Story
Community, Culture, and Care
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Aretha Basu

My dad, when he moved here, this was the only place he could afford. And he, I remember him telling me this, he moved into the apartments he moved into, because he wanted me to learn Spanish. And so I grew up speaking Spanish, cause all my friends were Mexican. So for my dad it was really important that I be versed in the culture that was around us, and that we could afford a place, and that we were close to my auntie's house.

Growing up here, most of my friends in the apartments, most of the people live in the apartments, were all Latinx folks. And I was the only Indian kid. And so I was really immersed in what it meant to be part of that community in our community. We used to have block parties now and then, so we would hang piñatas from the very top floor of the apartment building and all the kids, all the rug rats would come and bust these piñatas open, and the whole block would be covered in candy litter. We used to have bautizos or quinceñaras, or we'd have barbecues every weekend. I remember waking up on the weekends, and it was always very lively, and there was always music playing from inside people's houses, or in their cars. The CD used to feel very cozy and very homely. Our little block between Jackson and between Yesler, it was like its own little world. We used to joke about how this is where ALL the brown folks were, and as kids we didn't really know why, but we knew this is where we're all at. You felt safe and you felt comfortable. People wouldn't even lock their doors.

The moms would leave their doors open, we'd be running in and out, if you're hungry you'd just go to someone's house and be like, "Yo, can I get some food?" All the moms used to feed all the kids. But it was really funny, cause my dad would try to cook, and he was not a good cook. And he would make dishes for all the different moms, because they took care of me, and none of the moms liked the food. Everyone was too embarrassed to tell him, so everyone had Tupperware with dad's food and just didn't know what to do with it. 

He really appreciated our community, even though he didn't speak a lick of Spanish, and Bengali was his first language and his English was very broken. But he always felt very loved and accepted by the people that lived in the apartments around us, and he used to always talk about how, how vibrant walking down the street felt for him. He was like, "Even though I'm not in India, I feel like when I walk here I'm still able to have some sense of home. I may not understand a lot of the culture here, but I know the people here, I trust them. I know if anything were to happen to me, they would step in and take care of you." And they did. The day my dad died, the whole apartments were all in my house, taking care of me and helping me talk to police and firefighters. He loved living here.

Shelf Life Community Story
Next Steps for Shelf Life
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This week it has been exactly one year since we got the keys to the Shelf Life space. We have interviewed 65 community members. That simultaneously feels like a lot of people and not very many people at all. That’s more than one person per week. But there are so many more stories to record and share. Visit our Latest Stories page regularly, as we are always posting new ones. 

As fall descends on Seattle, we are prioritizing and organizing for the next chapter of Shelf Life. Before the end of the year, we will have to give up our space at the Promenade. This means that, for the next few months, we will not be scheduling interviews or hosting public hours at the story booth. In what remains of 2017, we will prioritize the following activities:

1) Transcribing and editing the stories we have already recorded. 

2) Editing and producing the SHELF LIFE PODCAST AND RADIO SERIES!!! With a grant from 4Culture Heritage, we will create 15 thematic episodes that will air on community radio stations and Low Power FM stations around the region.

3) Making arrangements with Central Area churches and senior centers to conduct interviews in those spaces in 2018. 

In the new year, we will start conducting interviews again, so if you have friends and family who have roots in the neighborhood, there's still plenty of time to interview them! We will also begin the design and development process for a large-scale interactive story platform (walking tour app, story map, etc). This will include a series of community forums to get input as to the best way to return the stories to the community. 

There are lots of other updates, such as Shelf Life’s participation in the upcoming Al Smith exhibit at MOHAI and a promising collaboration between NAAM and Kaji, to incorporate Shelf Life stories into an interactive audio app for use at NAAM. Stay tuned here to learn more about exciting developments at Shelf Life!

Shelf Life Community Story