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KC history students will exhibit oral histories May 19 to celebrate local history

Kilgore College history students will celebrate local history at the KC East Texas Oil Museum on Thursday, May 19, as they will exhibit recent interviews with community members.

Serving of light refreshments will begin at 5:30 p.m. with opening remarks and presentations beginning at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

As part of Dr. Meredith May’s history class, her students were tasked with interviewing community members to record oral histories.

More than 30 interviews were recorded with 20 selections that will be exhibited at the museum.

Interviews were conducted with local politicians, activists, educators, business owners and others who have made contributions to Gregg County.

The project was completed in part by a KC Innovation Grant, allowing the purchase of recording devices and other equipment for the students to use.

East Texas Oil Museum presents Johnny Cash exhibit through May 21

The Kilgore College East Texas Oil Museum is featuring an exhibit celebrating the 50th anniversary of the historic Johnny Cash concerts at Folsom Prison.

The exhibit, “1968: A Folsom Redemption,” is a collection of photographs and memoirs of two journalists lucky enough to be among a handful of eyewitnesses to the historic Johnny Cash concerts at the prison.

It will run through May 21 at the museum.

These candid and personal photos taken by Dan Push, and memoirs by writer Gene Beley, give visitors a rare look into the career of Cash, one of the 20th Century’s most beloved performers.

Cash had been performing for inmates as far back as 1957, when he received a stream of requests from prisoners who identified with the man who sang “Folsom Prison Blues.”

“This connection developed with prisoners during these concerts had made him increasingly sympathetic to those he would later call ‘the downtrodden’,” said Olivia Moore, ETOM director.

Along with opening acts Carl Perkins and the Statler Brothers, Cash performed and recorded two separate shows in the dining hall at Folsom.

The resulting album, At Folsom Prison, was released four months later to critical and popular acclaim.

For the first time ever, this travelling road show displays a collection of 31 photos featuring a wide range of intimate photos with friends and family to a backstage meeting between Cash and country music legend Merle Haggard.

“Beley’s first-person account of those days, and his knowledge of the storylines at work behind the scenes, make this a fascinating exploration of the little-known aspects of a well-known event in popular culture,” Moore said.

The exhibition highlights Cash’s golden era from the January 1968 Folsom Prison album recording to a March 1, 1969, concert in Anaheim, Calf., when he was getting ready to launch his network television show.

The exhibit is organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.

The museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information or to schedule a group tour, call the ETOM at (903) 983-8295 or visit www.kilgore.edu/oilmuseum.

About ExhibitsUSA:

This exhibition is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than twenty-five exhibitions on tour to over 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year. These exhibitions create access to an array of arts and humanities experiences, nurture the understanding of diverse cultures and art forms, and encourage the expanding depth and breadth of cultural life in local communities. For more about ExhibitsUSA, email MoreArt@maaa.org or visit www.eusa.org.

About Mid-America Arts Alliance:

Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) strengthens and supports artists, cultural organizations, and communities throughout our region and beyond. We achieve this primarily through our national traveling exhibition programs, innovative leadership development, and strategic grant making. We are especially committed to enriching the cultural life of historically underserved communities by providing high quality, meaningful, and accessible arts and culture programs and services. We believe in more art for more people. Additional information about M-AAA is available at www.maaa.org.

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