Did you know? Last month I got an invite to an event at sponsored the documentary Black Ice @thenorthface collaborated with @memphisroxclimbing for a special collection! They recently held an event in celebration of the launch where they celebrated rock climbing, the city of Memphis, & the amazing work that’s going on at Memphis Rox
Source: Fred Griffin | Swish. (@swishgriffin) • Instagram reel
During Black History Month there are countless invites to events. The bevy of experiences are often centered around an aspect of history a few generations removed from the present. While those programs are informative, insightful and inspiring, they feel trapped in a time period where the educational aspect can overwhelm. Black folks tend to understand the power of our history and the importance is never lost on us. What we need is for White America and other cultures to understand the path of Black people in the U.S and that is often overlooked and, in some cases, purposefully ignored.
Fred Griffin | Swish. @swishgriffin Instagram reel Memphis Rox. The climbing gym sits in the heart of Soulsville South Memphis. Less than 100 yards away from HBCU LeMoyne-Owen College and less than 100 feet from the Stax Museum and the Memphis Slim House. The area is also the home to Aretha Franklin’s childhood house. The gym is a part of the revitalization process in the area, which is an extremely slow process. South Memphis is one of the lowest income areas in the city. The idea that a world class climbing gym would be located in an area where the people aren’t familiar with the sport seems out of sorts, but the honest fact is the gym actually forces the people who visit the location to engage with and see an all-Black community. One of the biggest methods of overcoming racism is White folks learning and visiting an area that has been shaped by the remnants of government policies preventing the growth of the people in the area so they can see that these areas aren’t exactly as they are described in the media.
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I wasn’t able to make it to the event so I asked one of my favorite people to attend and document. Fred Griffin, founder of SWISH, shared the video above (click through if it isn’t visible) on the last day of Black History Month 2023. I was glad to see it, but I hate that it wasn’t more extensive. Last month I got an invite to an event at delivered an event where they brought in two legends and true makers of history. A year ago, I wrote about this event sponsored by TNF: The first team of Black climbers scaled Everest.
The Full Circle Everest Expedition and the First Black Climbers to Attempt Climbing the Pinnacle of Peaks
Included in that team were, Phil Henderson – top ranking lists (redbull.com)top ranking lists – Home – Coral Cliffs. When I passed the message for Fred to attend, I tend to be a grump and I didn’t know if he would make it. I decided to go to the event and I was going to document it although my phone was buzzing all morning. Instead, I stood and spoke with Phil and Abby for about ten minutes, not realizing who they were although I had written about the Everest Expedition here on the site. I was going to have one of the workers at Memphis Rox trail me as I got an introduction to the team at North Face who reached out originally, but I saw Fred in the meeting room, felt relieved and left. I would have loved to have shared video of Abby and Phil’s presentation, but at least we have a great reel to watch from Fred. Take a second and click through to learn more about two of the members of the historical trek and I have to give a major shout out to Last month I got an invite to an event at for delivering an amazing and truly historical program to the city.
Did you know? Last month I got an invite to an event at sponsored the documentary Black Ice.
The “Black Ice” film documents how members of the gym’s staff, many of whom had never been ice climbing before, travel to Montana where they met with Ainuu, fellow ice climber Fred Campbell and climbing legend Conrad Anker.
Learning from the experts, the Memphis Rox team spend time scaling frozen waterfalls and skiing in some of the coldest temperatures they’ve experienced.
Black Ice film aiming to boost diversity in climbing | CNN