Alpha Mu Chi, a chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society at Northeast Texas Community College, recently completed a yearlong Honors in Action project. “Finally Free: Folklore Becomes Legacy” is half-hour documentary featuring the voices, stories, and legacies of our African American community members. The documentary can be found at https://youtu.be/2BGfKK39Kfg.
The chapter set out to help fill a historical gap, raise awareness, and inspire commitment to further preservation using oral history interviews and film documentation. Chapter members conducted oral history interviews throughout the community, collecting over fifteen hours of film. Through a combined effort to encourage students to take a new African American history course offered on campus, the chapter helped host a speaker series sharing cultural, historical, religious, and political aspects of our black community members. The interviews and presentations have rooted the beginnings of a digital repository.
On October 8, eighteen chapter members visited Greenwood Rising Museum, the site of the 1921 Tulsa Massacre equipped with professional cameras and recording gear. The trip inspired self-reflection on the importance of historical conservation and transparency. Cade Bennett, District III Vice President of the Texas Region, was among the students who gave immediate reactions at the end of the museum tour. He stated, “These tragedies are ones that we must learn and educate ourselves on. Otherwise, we’re doing an injustice to everyone affected by it.”
Brian Ramirez, chapter president, film director, and producer, gained experience in filming and editing having served as director and producer of Honors Northeast films and the 2020 HIA project documentary, “To Turn a Blind Eye: Inaccessibility Awareness.” Ramirez and other chapter members gathered in December to listen to the various interviews conducted throughout the fall semester, ultimately selecting and organizing the moments they considered most impactful to include in the documentary. Chef Kami Redd, one of the speakers the chapter helped host, inspired the chapter project title. She said, “We only hear the stories passed down from generation to generation so much so that it becomes legends and folklore.”
“Editing allows me to get a deeper understanding of what the whole film is truly trying to portray. I was able to see each interview and absorb all of their stories in order to arrange them in the best way. “Finally Free” is a glimpse into the heartwarming and soul-wrenching stories of the African American community,” Ramirez noted.
Phi Theta Kappa’s Honors in Action (HIA) projects combines academic research, problem-solving, and action-oriented service to address real-world challenges in our communities. The added benefit is that students gain job-related experience while learning to research, think reflectively, and solve real-world challenges, including learning to collaborate with their college and community.
For more information on Phi Theta Kappa check out www.ptk.org or contact lead advisor Dr. Melissa Fulgham at firstname.lastname@example.org or co-advisor Dr. Matthew Lampert at email@example.com . Alpha Mu Chi is NTCC’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa and more information about chapter activities can be found at https://www.facebook.com/alphamuchi.