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Beyond-This-Place: The Visual History of African American Fraternities and Sororities

On this edition of In Black America, producer/host John L. Hanson Jr. speaks with Jarrad Henderson, producer of ‘Beyond-This-Place: The Visual History of African American Fraternities and Sororities.’

African American Fraternities and Sororities have played an important role in the development of African American identity for over one hundred years. Beyond-This-Place is an independent documentary project that examines the rich culture of African American Greek Letter Organizations.

Born during the Jim Crow era of American history, African American Fraternities and Sororities have helped to shape the social, political and cultural consciousness of post-emancipated America. Forty-two years after Emancipation the establishment of a self-determined group of college educated African American men would create energy, which yielded self-determination and a desire to prosper through the challenges of segregated America.

The concept of a African American fraternity, born out of racial discrimination and isolation on college campuses, would spread throughout America with the establishment of other fraternities and sororities using the model to create organizations that were dedicated to the development of it’s members and the African American community.

Beyond-This-Place is a project that seeks to validate the important past and contemporary history of African American Greek Letter Organizations in a never before seen collection of images. A documentary style of photography explores the depth of past organizational traditions, contemporary challenges, and future aspirations from the collection of nine historically African American Fraternities and Sororities.

John L. Hanson is the producer and host of the nationally syndicated radio series In Black America. It’s heard on home station KUT at 10 p.m. Tuesdays and 6:30 a.m. Sundays — and weekly on close to 20 stations across the country. The weekly podcast of IBA, the only nationally broadcast Black-oriented public affairs radio program, is one of KUT’s most popular podcasts.