The Louisville Story Program will hold a book launch for its first project, “Our Shawnee,” at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, May 21, at the Muhammad Ali Center.
The Louisville Story Program is a nonprofit that helps students and residents in underrepresented Louisville neighborhoods write books about their lives and the history that surrounds their neighborhoods. Brian Weinberg is the deputy director of the program and also a lecturer in creative writing at UofL.
“Our Shawnee” was written by eight Academy of Shawnee high school students – two of whom have been accepted and plan to attend UofL – about growing up in the Shawnee, Portland, Iroquois, and Algonquin neighborhoods of Louisville. Weinberg led the students in creating their non-fiction book based on the oral histories of the authors and their friends and family.
The UofL Oral History Center in the Archives and Special Collections, specifically co-directors Sarah-Jane Poindexter and Tracy K’Meyer, trained the students in conducting oral histories, provided equipment and served as a resource for the project. Eventually, they hope to work with the students on permanently placing the book and the oral histories collected in University Archives and Special Collections, Poindexter said.
“Their history and voices are something we want to treasure and preserve,” she said.
The book launch is free and open to the public. The program portion of the launch begins at 7:30 p.m. with the student authors each reading an excerpt from their chapter of “Our Shawnee.” The book is available for purchase at http://www.louisvillestoryprogram.org/projects.html.