Festival Year: Array
Roles: Special Guest
Evans discussed Come Hell or Highwater: The Battle for Turkey Creek.
Derrick Christopher Evans is an educator, historian, community builder and humanitarian. He is a sixth-generation native of coastal Mississippi’s historic African-American community of Turkey Creek, founded during southern Reconstruction by his former slave ancestors. Evans earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in History, African-American Studies and Education from Boston College, where he taught US Civil Rights History from 1992 to 2005. He taught middle school US History and Social Studies as a Boston Public School teacher from 1991 to 2001, and has taught undergraduate history, social science and humanities courses at Roxbury Community College and Harvard College. In 1997, he co-founded Epiphany School, a full-service and tuition-free independent middle school for low-income children and families from Boston neighborhoods. Evans is a co-founding Managing Advisor of the Gulf Coast Fund for Community Renewal and Ecological Health (GCF), which directs financial, technical and collegial support to local groups seeking authentic community recovery and resilience amid the Gulf South’s contemporary trends of major social, cultural and environmental displacement. This interest and his involvement grew out of his work with Turkey Creek Community Initiatives, which Evans founded in 2003 to conserve and restore the culture, ecology and self-determination of his ancestral community and watershed. Evans restored four blighted apartment buildings and several vacant lots on his street in Boston’s historic but under-served Roxbury community – without losing a single long-time resident, architectural detail, or neighborhood land-use goal. In 2010, Evans worked with filmmaker Leah Mahan and the Gulf Coast Fund to launch BRIDGE THE GULF, an interactive Web-based platform for community advocates, journalists and storytellers. Evans’ efforts to protect Turkey Creek are told in Mahan’s documentary Come Hell or High Water: The Battle for Turkey Creek.
Festival Year: Array