Melody Reeves grew up in California in the 1960s, with many childhood trips back to the South to visit extended family. She moved to east Tennessee in 1979 to work with Save Our Cumberland Mountains (SOCM), then with the Tennessee Valley Energy Commission, and moved in and out of the artistic community in Knoxville in the 1970s and 1980s. She is Digital Storyteller Trainer at Carpetbag Theater in Knoxville. Topics discussed in this interview include: her early educational experiences and political and philosophical questions she wrestled with in college; moving to Tennessee and doing community organizing with SOCM; deregulation under Reagan; reflections on authority and power within social justice organizations; connections between organizations and across movements; her perspectives on the intersection of art, community organizing, and social change; gender equality in personal relationships and in marriages; women’s roles in organizations; issues of gender and sexuality in community organizing; cultural and political work at the Jubilee Community Center; her involvement with Carpetbag Theater; different approaches to feminism and evolving conceptualizations of equal rights and women’s liberation; progressive faith-based social justice movements and spirituality in community organizing; the local women’s movement in Knoxville, Tenn. This interview is part of the Southern Oral History Program’s project to document the women’s movement in the American South.
Interview with Melody Reeves by Joey Fink, August 9 2010 U-0529, in the Southern Oral History Program Collection #4007, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.