Cities@Tufts: “We the landmarks”: reflections on High Rise Stories - Shareable

Cities@Tufts: “We the landmarks”: reflections on High Rise Stories



Sep 20, 2023 - Sep 20, 2023

12:00 PM - 01:00 PM

UTC/GMT -04:00 - America/New_York


Cities@Tufts is back for our first lecture of the Fall 2023 season! About the Talk In this presentation, Audrey Petty will explore her work compiling and editing High Rise Stories, an oral history in which narrators describe their lives in Chicago’s now-demolished high rises. These particular high rises were among the largest public housing complexes in the United States and home to predominantly Black communities. Defunded by city, state, and federal governments over the course of the 1970s forward, high rise public housing was chronically neglected and mismanaged and many were ultimately torn down as part of redevelopment projects. High Rise Stories’ narratives of community, displacement, and survival amplify the experiences of many who have long been ignored, but whose hopes and struggles exist firmly at the heart of our national identity. About Audrey Petty Audrey Petty is a writer and educator from Chicago. Her writing has appeared in Saveur, Oxford American, Poetry, Callaloo, Southern Review, The Chicago Neighborhood Guidebook (Belt) and the Best Food Writing anthology. She has also served as guest editor of a recent Great Migration issue of Gravy magazine and as the nonfiction editor at Ninth Letter magazine. Formally educated at Knox College and University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Petty has taught extensively in the fields of African American literature and Creative Writing on the faculty at Knox and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She has served as the Simon Blattner Visiting Assistant Professor of Fiction at Northwestern University and the Tin House Writer-in-Residence at Portland State University. She is currently on staff at the Invisible Institute, a nonprofit journalism company on the South Side of Chicago. And she is a member of the Prison + Neighborhood Arts/Education Project, a visual arts and humanities project that connects teaching artists and scholars to incarcerated students at Stateville Maximum Security Prison through classes, workshops, a policy think tank, and guest lectures. Petty’s oral history work, High Rise Stories: Voices from Chicago Public Housing (Voice of Witness/Haymarket Press), features firsthand accounts of twelve former residents of now-demolished Chicago Housing Authority high-rises. In a review for The Chicago Reader, Janet Potter writes, “High Rise Stories is informative and moving, empathetic and educational. While most of the CHA developments are gone, their influence on the demographics of Chicago life is not. As Paula Hawkins, who grew up in Cabrini-Green in the 60s and 70s, says, ‘The thing is: we the landmarks. Forget a building! People are the landmarks.’

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