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Westside stories focus of Muddy Turtle Talks at Feb. 9 forum
Neighbors’ recollections and live peformance
Published Thursday, February 7, 2019 7:06 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

The Feb. 9  Muddy Turtle Talks forum at Warehouse 242 is a combination of West Charlotte residents’ recollection about their neighborhood and the artistry of photographer Zun Lee and live performances by QC Family Tree.

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Hannah Hasan has stories to tell.

Her residency with QC Family Tree continues with the second Muddy Turtle Talks on Feb. 9 at Warehouse 242 from 1-4 p.m., where they will discuss gentrification in West Charlotte. Photographer Zun Lee’s work will also be part of the presentation, however, the conversation looks different compared to a typical Charlotte forum. Hasan collected stories from community members, which will be shared through live performances, followed by an opportunity to discuss their implication.

A Statesville native who lives in Charlotte, Hasan entered the project with an understanding of the city as a whole, but a limited knowledge of the area the stories would explore. QC Family Tree’s work focuses on that area.

“To be frank, I’m not from that area,” Hasan said. “I just happened to link up with this organization, and it became time for me to learn about the people out there, because I was going to be spending time with the people out there, because of my residency.”

Enter the name of the program: Muddy Turtle Talks.

“We learned that Tuckaseegee, which is that sort of main road that QC Family Tree is nestled on, means ‘the muddy turtle,’” Hasan said. “I thought that was so cool, because if you think about what mud represents, it is something that is seen to be dirty and almost taboo, but mud has healing properties. Then you look at a turtle, which is something that is slow and sometimes a creature that is looked down upon, but a turtle caries its home on its back.”

Understanding the meaning behind Tuckaseegee’s name inspired Hasan to tell stories beyond what an Internet search of West Charlotte generates.

“When I Google Tuckaseegee Road or West Charlotte, it’s mostly just stories about crime, or stories about a lack of opportunity, and things of that nature,” Hasan said. “Last summer, I started interviewing folks out there, learning their stories and then essentially writing their stories for the stage. After that, I would work with community storytellers to learn those stories. We had an event in October, which were pretty much straight up stories about life on the west side. Some of those stories were fun and funny and joyous and about love. Some of them were deeply tragic, and hard to hear, and a couple about housing.”

The inaugural event was followed by community conversations.

“We used the event in October to shed light on the west side, to humanize folks,” Hasan said. “Now, let’s use these stories to really discuss what is happening in Charlotte on the west side where housing is concerned.”

Hasan learned about her family’s connection to West Charlotte through her research.

“My uncle ran a [furniture] business off of Beatties Ford Road for at least 20 years,” Hasan said. “My dad had a welding business out of Statesville, and he used to always work in Charlotte. At Little Rock Homes, he built the fences out there. My brothers have spent so much time and made friends out there at Little Rock when my daddy was out there working. These are places that people live and thrive and do business. When I was able to make that personal that was a game changer for me. The west side provided for my family.”

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