Sacred/Secular Archive

McElroy House Story Plants

This was first published in ABOUT the River Valley magazine in partnership with the McElroy House. It’s been a while since we posted here on the BDJ, mostly due to the growing work of the McElroy House. The McElroy House and the Boiled Down Juice share a close relationship; The Boiled Down Juice is an idea
Category: ABOUT the River Valley

Hearths of Courage: Growing Beloved Communities

A few weeks ago near Harrison, Arkansas the KKK hosted a week long training camp. Open to ages sixteen and up, the camp attracted people from around the nation and sought to build “a mighty army” to fight against “racial genocide” and bring about “racial redemption.” This is the same KKK who purchased the large
Category: Arkansas

“Ella’s Song”: The Importance of Coming Together as Caregivers

  For as long as I can remember I’ve always been curious about what came before. As a child, I used to go about my days wondering what stories and experiences once occupied the places I called home. The adult version of that same childhood curiosity is what gave birth to this column and much
Category: African American

Community Singings and Square Dances: Muzzled Oxen Part 3

If you’ve been reading this column lately you’re familiar with our regular features on the recently published book, Muzzled Oxen: Reaping Cotton and Sowing Hope in 1920s Arkansas. Published by Butler Center Books, a branch of the Central Arkansas Library system, this three hundred fifty page memoir documents the stories of Genevieve Grant Sadler, a
Category: African American History

Prayer Shawls and Homemade Quilts

  In the corner of my living room closet is a stack of handmade quilts, blankets, and throws. Some of them come from great grandmothers and were made generations ago in the rural areas of Harkey Valley and Cardon Bottoms. Others were made during my own lifetime in small homes in the growing town of
Category: Arkansas

Staring at the Snails

The Backyard Living column is a partnership between ABOUT the River Valley magazine, A View from the Backroads, and the McElroy House: Organization for Cultural Resources and Community Action. This column originally ran in the May issues of ABOUT the River Valley Magazine.  All columns in this series are written by Meredith Martin-Moats. For more information about subscription information
Category: ABOUT the River Valley

Flooding Rivers and Everyday Music: The Stories and Songs of Floy Bearden

This piece was originally published in the October 2013 issue of ABOUT the River Valley magazine and was written by Boiled Down Juice editor Meredith Martin-Moats.   Photos of grandchildren and great grandchildren line the walls of Floy Bearden’s home in Dardanelle. A bag of crochet peaks out from under the piano, the platform above the keys lined
Category: Arkansas

Singing Schools and the Encyclopedia of Arkansas Music

Last week’s column highlighted just a few of the entries from the recently released Encyclopedia of Arkansas Music. Published by the Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, the book draws from the Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture’s online collection of entries about the past and present of Arkansas music. As editor Ali Wekly writes in
Category: Arkansas

Friday Video: Sister Rosetta Tharpe on PBS American Masters

Born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas in 1915, Sister Rosetta Tharpe (Rosetta Nubin Tharpe) is considered the Godmother of rock and soul, influencing musicians like Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley, and countless others. She merged the sacred and the secular both lyrically and stylistically, creating a new style of playing that was full of passion. Quoting from
Category: African American

Friday Video: “We Got to Have More Love, More Understanding…” Sister Rosetta Tharpe, France, 1960

If you’re not familiar with Arkansas’s own Sister Rosetta Tharpe, here’s a bit of background on this amazing woman from Cotton Plant who bridged the worlds of sacred and secular music.  From the Arkansas Encylcopedia: Rosetta Nubin was born in Cotton Plant (Woodruff County) on March 20, 1915, to Katie Bell Nubin, an evangelist, singer, and mandolin
Category: African American