Unfinished Business: From The Great Migration to Black Lives Matter

August 14 | 11 AM – 1 PM ET | Zoom

Stephanie Clintonia Boddie, PhD, MSW, Baylor University

A scholar, oral historian, film-maker, and a classically-trained soprano, who blends traditional research and oral histories with film, music and conversation to create a new body of work: Unfinished Business: From the Great Migration to Black Lives Matter.  


Dr. Boddie began collecting oral histories in 2011 and started this project in 2015 while a post-doctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies & the Economy (CAUSE). This work has positioned her to receive the Advancing the Black Arts in Pittsburgh grant in 2016 and the Penn Avenue artist-in-residency at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater in 2017 as well as present this work nationally and internationally.

“Angelic and mesmerizing” are words that have been used to describe my singing voice. As an artist, I am more than my voice. I am a singer, storyteller, scholar, and social worker. Music and oral history bridge my love for storytelling and scholarship. Both require listening with the heart and transcending the typical binary black and white or us versus them type of thinking.

Stories Matter

“Unfinished Business” is an ethnographic research project using a multimodal approach. The live and filmed storytelling comprise an engrossing compilation of societal and cultural knowledge from African American elders, historic Black churches, and community organizations. Their oral history interviews are being augmented by keeping ethnographic diaries of the participants. These diaries include photos, letters, and journals, as well as other primary or secondary sources.

This musical documentary portion of this work offers a creative interactive approach to documenting oral histories of African American elders. The musical documentary engages the audience and provides a powerful storyline that is followed by courageous and compassionate conversations to call audiences to remember our past and consider our “unfinished business” related to racial identity, race relations, and systemic racism.

Join This Screening and Conversation

You can’t really know where you are going until you know where you have been.” 
Maya Angelou

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