Chuck Stewart’s photography provided by Fireball Entertainment Group, courtesy of Chuck Stewart Photographs of John Coltrane, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution
Zandria F. Robinson is cofounding director of the Center for Southern Literary Arts in Memphis. She is the author of This Ain’t Chicago: Race, Class, and Regional Identity in the Post-Soul South and the forthcoming Soul Power. In 2017, she was a finalist for a National Magazine Award for an essay she wrote for this magazine.
Daddy’s truck was one of those places—like a grandmother’s house, a real and actual soul food restaurant, or a barbershop owned by an older black man who guards the radio by silent threat of the revolver in his drawer next to the good clippers—where one could reliably expect to hear either (and only) 1070 WDIA or 1340 WLOK. It was the other side of sound, the other side of Southern blackness, a steady if muffled undercurrent that persisted and quietly buoyed new generations.