where it all began
In September of 2014 my friend Jim Wilhelm and I invited our friend and Renaissance man Craig Davis over to Jim’s house in Midtown to record a startup podcast that we wanted to call Our Jackson Home. Craig is not only a talented writer and thinker, but he also cares a lot for Jim and me. So he took a risk and agreed to have us ask him questions and play a little guitar while we recorded him.
Six months later Our Jackson Home had grown into a team that produces writing, photography, video, and podcasts for a website that generated nearly 12,000 views this past month. How did this happen? And what do we hope to be about going forward?
This project happened for two reasons:
First, Jacksonians are incredibly generous. Perhaps this is a Southern quality generally, or maybe it really is peculiar to our community, but within Jackson people are excited when you ask them to be a part of telling a new narrative about our lives spent together. That narrative is not salesmanship or spin, but rather it is creative and truthful storytelling through an iTunes podcast, long- and short-form writing, and filmmaking. We ask people to share themselves with us by being themselves. And over and over again the answer is, “Yes, I would love to!”
Second, Jackson is full of talented artists. They may not paint or write full time. They may not work for a media group (or they may!) or get paid to share their thoughts on a full time basis, but throughout our restaurants, schools, factories, and in every neighborhood of Jackson, there people who are great at sharing their Jackson experience in diverse ways. We’ve only just begun finding these people and institutions and putting their stories on display. We can’t wait to continue telling these stories. Therefore we now state that the mission of Our Jackson Home is to celebrate the people and the stories of the city we all love.
Jackson is an amazing place.
With that being said, none of us at Our Jackson Home are naive about the problems of our city. Yes, there is crime. And yes, our spring and fall are way too short, and our summers and winters way too long. And yes, the socioeconomics of our city are far from painting a perfect picture of opportunity and peace. But what those of us who call Jackson home know is that Jacksonians are some of the most talented, gracious, and enduring/endearing folks on the face of the planet.
The history and personalities of past Jacksonians are as fascinating as the old-timers among us claim. This great West Tennessee history deserves a fresh new chance at being shared and learned. Ellie Wiesel wrote that, “Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory there would be no civilization, no society, no future.” Those who have invested in this community for years through education, infrastructure, parenting, ministry, law, medicine, machinery, art, business, civic involvement—and the list goes on—deserve to have their stories told.
Further there is a new generation of Jacksonians who are passionate about art, justice, family, community, ministry, business, education, labor, and more. They desire to tell their stories and share their voice.
We want to be a home for the voices of the past and the future to collide. We want Our Jackson Home to be a creative home for people to discover, demonstrate, and discuss the joys, difficulties, comedy, and drama of life in our community.
Thank you, Jackson, for the the unbelievable level of support you have already given. We look forward to continuing to return the favor.
Luke Pruett, Co-Founder
March 3, 2015