Organize Your Own: The Politics and Poetics of Self-Determination Movements

Anne Braden with megaphone speaking to crowd of African Americans

“Organize Your Own: The Politics and Poetics of Self-Determination Movements” is a multi-city exhibition and event series (in Philadelphia and Chicago) featuring new work by contemporary artists and poets that responds to the history of the mandate from the Black Power movement to “organize your own” community against racism.

The Anne Braden Institute’s contribution brought together a coalition of historians, students, and workers in collaboration with Louisville Showing Up for Racial Justice (LSURJ), to create two digital stories that examine the ways that the 1966 call to “organize your own” infused organizing for racial equity in and around Louisville. The first digital story focuses on the profound influence on several generations of Anne Braden and her husband Carl as committed white allies to the cause of African American freedom since the 1950s. The second digital story explores more contemporary manifestations of whites organizing other whites by profiling Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ), a local and national network organizing white communities to join with people of color in ending racism. These stories juxtapose oral history audio snippets with relevant historic images and artifacts. The creative and production team included graduate student Wes Cunningham (lead oral historian and narrator), community activist Carla Wallace of LSURJ, historian Lara Kelland, technology assistants Jamie Beard and Nia Holt, and Braden biographer and Institute director Cate Fosl.