In the 1960s and '70s, Soulsville, USA, was pulsing with energy. A center for American soul, fueled by the musicians and music lovers of Stax Records, it filled the airwaves with positivity and that bluesy Memphis sound. Although the town and its spirit eventually fell into disrepair, a group of music lovers made sure it survived by digging in and starting The Soulsville Foundation.
Today the Soulsville Foundation funds three organizations: The Soulsville Charter School, The Stax Museum of American Soul Music, and The Stax Music Academy. At the charter school, students in grades 6?12 build an academic foundation and prepare for college in a tuition-free, music-rich environment. The nearby Stax Museum?built on the site of the recording studio where Isaac Hayes and Otis Redding once sang?showcases films, videos, interactive exhibits, and more than 2,500 artifacts that convey the history of American soul music: everything from Mavis Staples's stage dress to Albert King's Flying V purple guitar. The Stax Music Academy, meanwhile, takes that legacy to the next level by teaching young scholars how to create their own music in the tradition of Stax Records, providing after-school mentoring and use of a state-of-the-art facility.