Russell City cemented its reputation as a blues hub

Megan Wilkinson – Russell City, CA: A Microcosm for Trends that Shaped the US

Date grant awarded: December 12, 2019

Russell City, CA was an important example of self-governing African American and Latino communities in western America, however it was destroyed in the 1960s through an urban renewal project. Many former town residents still live nearby though, and my previous interviews with them formed the cornerstone of my initial reconstruction of the town’s history. Using that work as a springboard, I am thrilled to have received a Pollination Project grant to expand my original project.

I will use this grant to conduct six 1:1, hour-long interviews with former Russell City residents. The timing is critical to document first-hand accounts of this town as most of the former residents are in their late 70s to mid-90s. I will synthesize the information I gather and plan to publish my paper through the American Anthropological Association, as well as on my website, to ensure the legacy of Russell City is available for the public to learn about this special place.