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Interview with Broderick Flanigan, July 29, 2015

Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia
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00:00:56 - Family history

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Partial Transcript: I was hoping you could share what you know about your family's history in Athens?

Segment Synopsis: Flanigan talks about his family and their history in Athens, Georgia. Flanagan remembers his maternal grandfather, an entrepreneur who sold BBQ and wood for the winter. Flanigan also talks about his father, who used to live on River Street and spent his childhood running about the neighborhood. Flanigan explains how his family eventually stopped attending church after his grandmother, who was the family's main church attendant, passed away.

Keywords: College Station Road; Ebenezer West Baptist Church; Oconee River; River Street; Ted Bullock

00:07:49 - Early education

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Partial Transcript: So when you moved from there, where'd you go next?

Segment Synopsis: Flanigan gives details into his family's moving history after the death of his grandmother. Flanigan describes the process of changing elementary schools, and how the adjustments did not affect his love for school. Flanigan describes his experience attending Clarke Country High School, where he began to build a liking for basketball.

Keywords: Clarke County High School; Fourth street Elementary; Gaines Elementary School; Rock Springs

00:14:32 - School mentor / Living in Nellie B neighborhood

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Partial Transcript: So even though y'all were moving around a lot, it sounds like school was also a priority?

Segment Synopsis: Flanigan recalls the impact of his middle school mentor, Wayne Fairfax, on his life. Flanigan talks about how Wayne enhanced his interest in swimming, basketball, and jazz. Flaningan talks about his mother, and credits her illustrations for pushing him to pursue art. Flanigan describes living in Nellie B, a public housing Athenian neighborhood recognized in the mid 90's for its high crime rates. Flanigan describes the unexpectedly close community he grew up in, and his thoughts when revisiting the neighborhood as an adult.

Keywords: East Athens Community Center; Wayne Fairfax

00:22:55 - Living in Nellie B (cont.) / Volunteering at Clarke Central High School

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Partial Transcript: That's interesting, because your description sounds a lot like the other neighborhoods you lived in...

Segment Synopsis: Flanigan continues to describe the Nellie B neighborhood, noting how outside perceptions of Nellie B often times differed from reality. Flanigan recalls his appreciation of basketball and mentions the relationship with his basketball coach, Billy Wade. Flanigan recounts his experience living in Newport News, Virginia after graduating high school and also details the process of returning to Georgia to attend Georgia Southern University. Flanigan discusses the setbacks he encountered after the job requirements for his major changed, and he talks about his job as a substitute teacher and his experience volunteering at Clark Central High School.

Keywords: higher education; teaching

00:29:48 - Becoming a mentor

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Partial Transcript: It sounds like you found a lot of ways to keep yourself busy and moving forward.

Segment Synopsis: Flanigan talks about how his parents' perseverance inspired him to keep moving forward despite the hurdles he faced in choosing his career. Flanigan gives insight into his parents' life and talks about his mom's injury which resulted with her being placed on disability. Flanigan recounts how the combination of becoming the mentor of a child he taught and taking an art and business course eventually led him on the road of becoming a community activist.

Keywords: Barnett Shoals Elementary; Clarke Central High School; Clarke County Mentor Program; Continued Education Center; Disability; University of Georgia

00:36:36 - Starting Flanigan's Portrait Studio

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Partial Transcript: Could you talk about the vision for that, and how it started?

Segment Synopsis: Flanigan talks about how his business, Flanigan's Portrait Studio, started as a way to supplement income when his art wasn't selling. He describes the transformation of his studio to a creative workplace for kids. Flanigan describes his involvement at the Chess and Community Center, and specifically how its founder, Lemuel LaRoche, inspired him to become a mentor to other children. Flanigan describes the ensuing transformation that occurs in children's behavior after becoming a part of the Chess and Community Center. Flanigan talks about the isolation between the community and University of Georgia as felt by low-income children who live around the university.

Keywords: Chess and Community Center; Flanigan's Portrait Studio; Lemuel LaRoche; University of Georgia

00:40:01 - UGA's relationship to surrounding communities / Getting the community involved

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Partial Transcript: When you say it changes their perspective, what is their perspective before?

Segment Synopsis: Flanigan explains the isolation and limitation local kids feel toward their life and particularly towards the University of Georgia, as many low-income children don't actively participate in the campus culture. Flanigan reflects on his own thoughts about UGA, and how he never foresaw attending the university due to his status. Flanigan talks about the First Fridays Initiative where non-profits come to the East Athens Community Center and invite the people to actively participate in the community. Flanigan describes how he started First Fridays, as he saw that low-income Athenians often did not participate in community service activities.

Keywords: East Athens Community Center; First Friday's Family Day; University of Georgia

00:48:35 - Experiences in mentoring

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Partial Transcript: Are there any particular experiences you've had with kids that have really moved you or changed you?

Segment Synopsis: Flanigan discusses his thoughts about mentoring and his fears of not making a difference. Flanigan recalls an interaction he had with a pupil, in which he was moved by a student's revelation toward police and the community. Flanigan reflects on the impact of his own mentor, and how his memory inspires Flanigan to continue his work.

Subjects: mentoring; police; police violence

00:53:12 - Gentrification in Athens / Making a community

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Partial Transcript: What have you seen happening in that neighborhood?

Segment Synopsis: Flanigan discusses the gentrification of his new neighborhood located in the East Athens community. He talks about the how the expansion of student housing has forced the older population out of their homes, due to increased tax rates. Flanigan describes the change he would like to see in his community and his wish for more personal and positive interactions among neighbors.

Keywords: community; gentrification; home values