"Soul Souvenirs: Durham's Musical Memories from the 1960s and 1970s" was the official exhibition component of the Bull City Soul Revival, a Durham-based humanities project seeking to recover the city's rich heritage of soul, funk and R&B music. The project was made possible by a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council and matching support from the Durham Library Foundation.
Curated by historians Josh Davis and Jason Perlmutter of Carolina Soul, "Soul Souvenirs" is not only about music. It examines how the sounds and scene were shaped by the culture of record stores and night clubs, local high schools and churches, and even the civil rights and black power movements of the era. In short, this exhibit tells the story of Durham's African American community in the 1960s and 1970s.
The Independent Weekly ran a cover story on the project, and Cliff Bellamy from the Herald-Sun in Durham also covered it here and here. Overall, the exhibit was a great success — a steady stream of visitors came through the Hayti, and I think we were able to tell the story and connect it to some extent with what's happening now in Durham.
In conjunction with the exhibit, in April 2012 we held a panel discussion with Durham musicians of the era, moderated by Jason Perlmutter, featuring:
Charles Bailey: Trumpet player with several Durham soul artists in the 1970s, including the Communicators and Black Experience Band, King James Flowers, the Rivieras, and Johnny White.
Pete Joyner: Drummer with many groups in Durham, such as The Jammers and The Charles Joyner Quintet. Joyner also lived in Michigan for much of the 1970s, playing with the likes of Jr. Walker & The All Stars.
Vernelle Mack: Featured vocalist with numerous area groups such as The Essence of Truth, The Pastels, The Positive Approach, The US Welfare Band, and Johnny White & The Mighty Crusaders.)
Aaron Mills: Founding member of New Central Connection Unlimited (NCCU) in the mid-1970s. After NCCU, he joined the nationally-successful R&B group Cameo. He has also provided bass lines for hit recordings by the hip-hop duo Outkast.
"Soul Souvenirs" was on display at the Hayti during April and May of 2012. It also appeared at the American Tobacco Campus from Feb.–May 2013.