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Playlist: Afi-Odelia E. Scruggs's Portfolio

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Remixing Grandma's Voice

From Afi-Odelia E. Scruggs | 02:12

When Afi Scruggs digitized an interview with her late grandmother, she recalled truism about technology: every time a format changes, important information risks loss. This essay reflects on capturing and keeping memories - and what happens when original sources are lost.

Elizabeth_and_grandmother_forprx_small Conversations about data transference or archiving usually veer into discussions of technology and software. That was the mindset I was in when I digitized an interview I'd taped with my grandmother in Nashville, Tenn. on July 4, 1990.

 As I listened to the interview, though, I recalled a lesson I'd learned from teaching Mass Communications: every time a format changes, important information risks loss. When I talked to my grandmother, I thought I was preserving a dying style of African-American singing. Instead I'd created an audio portrait that could bring ancestral voices to future generations - if they could access it.

My grandmother passed away in October, 2011, a few months after I created this essay. It  is a meditation on transferring and archiving memories in the 21st century.

Ode To The Pencil

From Afi-Odelia E. Scruggs | 01:54

An essay praising the hand-held writing stick.

1175984_pencil_small I earn my living by the sweat of my brow and the power of my words. I'm a freelance writer. I depend on my computer, but my pencil has earned its place in my hand and my heart.  Listen and learn why this rudimentary implement has won my affection.

Ramadan Mubarak: The Science of Breaking the Fast

From Afi-Odelia E. Scruggs | Part of the Ramadan Mubarak series | 02:52

After abstaining from food and drink during the daylight hours of Ramadan, Muslims return to eating with a meal of dates, water or milk. The combination is traditional and nutritional. Afi Scruggs produced this explanation of the science behind breaking the fast.

Dates_1_small After abstaining from food and drink during the daylight hours of Ramadan, Muslims return to eating with a meal of dates, water or milk. The combination is traditional and nutritional. Afi Scruggs produced this explanation of the science behind breaking the fast.