Vox Magazine 8.24.17

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Quench your thirst with a variety of refreshing drinks PAGE 6


FORGOTTEN NO MORE In local classrooms, Verna Laboy revives the life of Annie Fisher and her legacy as a Mid-Missouri entrepreneur PAGE 8

At any age, there are plenty of interesting spaces for music lessons PAGE 14




FEATURE This year marks the 150th anniversary of one of the most successful black entrepreneurs in Columbia, Annie Fisher, who rose to fame with her delicious beaten biscuits and cured ham. To keep Fisher’s history alive, local activist Verna Laboy transforms into the historical figure for educational presentations. PAGE 8

THE BEST RECESS GAME: KICKBALL Adriana Nieman met her husband, Louis Nieman, at a kickball league in St. Louis. Now, they’ve started a coed league in CoMo to connect adults in the community through exercise and competitive fun.

NEWS & INSIGHT Take a hike, and clear your mind. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Missouri State Park System, here are some tidbits about the parks. PAGE 4

FOUR BEST OUTDOOR BRUNCH SPOTS Don’t just settle for a sub-par environment as you munch. Enjoy the sunshine while you still can, and indulge in a tasty outdoor brunch. Whether you’re in the mood for Italian food or barbecue, there’s sure to be a cuisine in Columbia to satisfy your taste buds.

THE SCENE Summer isn’t over yet, but some of us are ready to get away from the heat. Mix up your taste buds with this selection of cool drinks in downtown Columbia. PAGE 6

COMING TO COLUMBIA Vox Deputy Editor and new graduate student Sten Spinella recounts his choice to come to MU and his journey from Connecticut to Columbia.

MUSIC Learning music isn’t just for kids. These adults are taking up singing lessons, learning brass instruments and showing it’s never too late to take on something new. PAGE 14


ARTS & BOOKS It’s time to get out your detective kit. The New York Times bestselling author Paula Hawkins’ second thriller, Into the Water, combines darkness and suspense in a mystery full of twists and turns. PAGE 16 Q&A: JOSH SMITH How difficult is cutting meat? Learn about the preparation of whole-animal butchery as Barred Owl butcher and co-owner Josh Smith talks about growing up and how he views his work. PAGE 18 COVER DESIGN: ALEXANDRA WOZNICZKA COVER PHOTO: MEG VATTEROTT COVER COURTESY PHOTO: STATE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF MISSOURI


320 LEE HILLS HALL, COLUMBIA, MO 65211 EDITORIAL: 573-884-6432 vox@missouri.edu ADVERTISING: 573-882-5714 CIRCULATION: 573-882-5700 TO SUBMIT A CALENDAR EVENT: email vox@missouri.edu or submit via online form at voxmagazine.com. TO RECEIVE VOX IN YOUR INBOX: sign up for email newsletter at voxmagazine.com.

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The only black women I remember learning about in school were Harriet Tubman and Rosa Parks. Being from West Virginia, I should have also learned about West Virginia native Katherine Johnson, a physicist and mathematician for NASA — but I didn’t know she existed until the movie Hidden Figures hit screens last year. At the time, I barely noticed the lack of women — especially women of color — in my history books. I just assumed white men did all the great things. The whitewashing of American history is a wrong that many educators and activists are trying to correct, and it has brought out the ugliness of the white supremacism that still exists in this country. In past weeks, news feeds have been flooded with images and narratives of Nazi sympathizers storming the streets, terrorizing fellow Americans. We’ve seen the president of the United States fail to immediately condemn this blatant portrayal of racism and domestic terrorism. In the midst of these disturbing acts, we have people in this country and here in Columbia who are working to shed light on the historical figures we should be remembering. On Page 8 of this week’s issue, you’ll find the story of Annie Fisher. She was a black woman and an entrepreneur in the late 1800s and early 1900s who built fame and fortune on her reputation for making incredible beaten biscuits. Verna Laboy, a Columbia activist, now travels to schools acting as Annie Fisher and telling her story. She’s trying to right the whitewashing wrongs of recorded history. She gives a voice to the past, and she shows young students there have been great black women throughout history, even if they don’t appear in history textbooks. There’s still a long way to go, but people like Laboy help assure our community knows about important black historical figures as we also move forward to combat the racism alive today.


Editor: Madison Fleck Deputy Editor: Sten Spinella Managing Editor: Kelsie Schrader Digital Managing Editor: Lea Konczal Multimedia Editor: Meg Vatterott Online Editor: Brooke Vaughan Art Directors: Alexandra Wozniczka, Keegan Pope Photo Editor: Erin Bormett News & Insight Editors: Lauren Puckett, Rachel Treece The Scene Editors: Brooke Kottmann, Lily Zhao, Brea Cubit Music Editors: Amanda Lundgren, Lis Joyce Arts & Books Editors: Karlee Renkoski, Mary Salatino, Micki Wagner Editorial Director: Heather Lamb Executive Editor: Jennifer Rowe Digital Director: Sara Shipley Hiles Office Manager: Kim Townlain





Vox’s take on the talk of the week



It looks like the third time’s the charm for President Trump, who wrote, then rewrote, then rewrote his tweet saying the country needs to “heel” on Sunday. Trump is no stranger to being a heel, (a professional wrestling term meaning antagonist) acting as one during his appearances on WWE. He revived the role at an Arizona rally on Tuesday —attacking journalists, U.S. Sen. John McCain and anti-fascist protestors.


The spot “Total Eclipse of the Heart” moved to on the iTunes chart.


The degree separation between Columbia’s temperature before the eclipse (89 degrees) and during (84 degrees), according to Weather Underground.


Number of eclipse glasses sold at HyVee on Nifong.



The year of the most recent total eclipse over continental U.S., which ABC news shared a look back on this past weekend. One quote from the broadcast went viral on Twitter: “MAY THE SHADOW OF THE MOON FALL ON A WORLD IN PEACE.”

After Missouri State Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal apologized on Sunday for her Facebook post that expressed a hope for President Trump’s assassination, she insisted she wouldn’t be resigning. But that might not be the end of the story. Gov. Eric Greitens says the Senate can still remove her, and with top Missouri Democrats calling for her resignation, too, it’s a possibility. If she is removed, it would be Missouri’s first state senator expulsion.



Columbia and MU might need to consider how to handle calls for the removing and renaming of controversial monuments because of recent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, and statue removals throughout the U.S. Lee Expressive Arts Elementary School was originally named after Confederate army leader Robert E. Lee, and a statue of Thomas Jefferson, a known slaveowner, sits in Francis Quadrangle. The most recent debate over the statue occurred in 2015, and after no action was taken, the university’s values were questioned.


/Q1061Hits @Q1061

Written by: Karlee Renkoski, Lauren Puckett, Rachel Treece, Brooke Kottmann, Lis Joyce PHOTOS BY OR COURTESY OF EMIL LIPPE, JEFF ROBERSON AND WIKIMEDIA COMMONS






The hidden histories of Missouri’s parks Vox dug up stories to honor our park system’s centennial


Missouri was the starting point on Meriwether Lewis and William Clark’s famous journey to explore the uncharted West, and the duo applauded the state for its diverse landscapes. Centuries later, Missouri has kept a great deal of its land protected. The Missouri State Park System’s 200,000 acres of land, which equates to 91 state parks and historic sites, provide an endless playground for adventurers of all levels. This year, the park system hit its 100-year anniversary, so Vox compiled a list of facts about the state's parks with the help of Steph Deidrick, public relations specialist for the Missouri State Parks.

Secret sanctuaries


Finger Lakes State Park was formerly owned by the Peabody Coal Mining Company, where miners extracted 1.2 million tons of coal between 1964 and 1967. Peabody then donated the park to the state system, and it has since been turned into an outdoor sporting area. Finger Lakes State Park; 1505 E. Peabody Road, Columbia; 443-5315

Fit for a king

Although Rock Bridge Memorial State Park is known for its caves, such as the underground stream named Devil’s Icebox, it also contains the Gans Creek Equestrian Trail. This trail is a secluded, 750-acre section of the park devoted to our hooved, four-legged friends.

We aren’t aware of any royalty in Missouri, but the castle-like home of Robert McClure Snyder, a business tycoon, became the site of Ha Ha Tonka State Park in 1904. Snyder’s castle ruins can be found on one of the park’s trails overlooking the vast forests below.

Rock Bridge Memorial State Park; 5901 S. Highway 163; 449-7402

Ha Ha Tonka State Park; 1491 State Road D, Camdenton; 346-2986

Historic trail system

At 238 miles, Katy Trail State Park is the longest developed rail-trail in the nation. It runs east to west across the center of the state and has 26 trailheads. For every dollar spent by the park system on the Katy Trail, an average of $18 is returned on the investment. The trail also provides 367 local jobs and generates $18.5 million per year from tourists. Katy Trail State Park; Entry points across the state; 449-7402

Giant trees in the Bootheel

The lowland area of Big Oak Tree State Park suffered heavy flooding for millions of years before the 1811 New Madrid earthquake sunk the land further into the Earth, which added more marsh areas to the topography. This park is located on an island within the swamps, where trees average 120 feet tall. Big Oak Tree State Park; 13640 S. Highway 102, East Prairie; 649-3149

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Ancient dwellings

Between 1949 and 1955, MU and the Missouri Archaeological Society excavated Graham Cave and found it had been inhabited by humans as early as 10,000 years ago. Along the trail, park visitors can view interpretive exhibits showcasing artifacts such as spears, pottery and cave drawings. Graham Cave; 217 Route TT, Montgomery City; 564-3476

Diverse ecosystems

Deidrick says Prairie State Park is home to more than 150 species of birds, 25 species of mammals, 25 species of reptiles, 12 species of amphibians and approximately 500 species of plants (350 of which are native prairie species). In addition, more than 25 endangered plant and animal species call the park home. Prairie State Park; 128 N.W. 150th Lane, Mindenmines; 417-843-6711 Much of the Katy Trail runs alongside the Missouri River and features signs and outposts describing America’s westward push. Not only is the trail rich in history, but the 238-mile path is also a favorite for biking, hiking and horseback riding.

A U G U S T 2 4 - 2 7 | A U G . 3 1 - S E P T. 3 | S E P T. 7 -1 0

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Drink up, cool down It’s hot, but you don’t have to be. Try these seven downtown Columbia drinks and treats to beat the heat. BY MEGHAN LALLY Wipe that sweat from your brow, and grab a cold drink. Columbia boasts a plethora of beverage options to cool you down. Whether you are refueling after a sweaty workout or catching up with old friends on a patio, there’s a satisfying sip for every activity.

For a quiet place to study

Reading that last summer novel or catching up on work is sweeter when done outside. Try a Columbia original with a 16-ounce iced house brew from Fretboard Coffee. It’s sure to cool you down and keep you awake. Fretboard Coffee Price: $4.40

For a carefree Saturday

The last warm weekends of the season are for ditching responsibility and basking in the sun with a cold mimosa in hand. Make your way to the biergarten patio at Gunter Hans for $12.99 bottomless mimosas from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday.

For a treat your dog can also eat

When the sun shines, the pup will want to play. Grab a milkshake from Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream before you take your own little Sparky to the dog park. Combine strawberry and raspberry ice cream in a 16-ounce shake for a refreshing sip in the balmy heat. Pamper your pooch with a treat; Sparky’s has sweet cream just for dogs. Sparky’s Homemade Ice Cream Price: $3.50

For a day at the pool

“No coast” might be the newest slogan for Missourians, but Columbia offers several refreshing pools and lakes. Before heading waterside, grab an icy drink from Tropical Liqueurs. A double with a mix of Sweet Tart and Silver Bullet will keep you cool and give you the perfect poolside buzz. Tropical Liqueurs Price: $4.25

Gunter Hans Price: $12.99 bottomless; $6 individual

For a stop while you shop

Take a break from your Ninth Street shopping spree for a refreshing green boba tea at Bubblecup Tea Zone. Request boba, a chewy tapioca, to be added to the bottom of a variety of the shop’s unique teas. Bubblecup Tea Zone Price: $3.25

For a green cleanse

Feeling like you need a juice cleanse after a weekend well spent in the sun on Logboat Brewing Co.’s patio? Main Squeeze is just the place for all your detox needs. Try The Cure, a 12-ounce, 100-percent juice mixture of carrot, orange, lemon and ginger. Main Squeeze Price: $5.75

For a post-workout meal After hitting the gym, treat yourself to a healthy, frozen snack at Nourish Café and Market. A strawberry-orange chia smoothie is the perfect way to ensure your sweet tooth is satisfied without breaking that health kick you’ve been on all summer. Nourish Café and Market Price: $8 6








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FISHER’S LIVING LEGACY Over a century ago, Annie Fisher made a fortune baking biscuits while defying expectations. Now, this Columbian’s story lives on through community activist Verna Laboy. BY JARED KAUFMAN · PHOTOS BY MEG VATTEROTT


hen Annie Fisher walks into an elementary school classroom, she wears a loose gray blouse, a white apron and round, wire-framed glasses. She introduces herself and tells students she was born in 1867. Her parents were born enslaved, and she dropped out of school after third grade to work. She learned how to make beaten biscuits with country ham, started her own business and quickly became one of the most famous and wealthy black people in Columbia. When she reaches the end of her presentation,

Fisher turns to the class and says, “Look, I am just acting! I am not Annie Fisher!” In the younger grades, some of the kids often look around, shocked. They’d been fooled into thinking Verna Laboy, a community activist who portrays Annie Fisher in Columbia schools, was actually Fisher herself. “Even after she’s shared with them that this is a woman in history, some kids still think she’s the real one,” says Adrian Clifton, Laboy’s daughter, who was a first-grade teacher at Rock Bridge Elementary and had Laboy visit her classroom. “She’s that believable.”





Verna Laboy demonstrates how to use the tools that Annie Fisher would have worked with to make her famous beaten biscuits. She says she has not tried to make Fisher’s biscuits yet because it is hard to source authentic ingredients.

Annie Fisher was regarded as one of the most successful entrepreneurs in Columbia during her lifetime. She was included in the National Cyclopedia of the Colored Race, a book of short biographies on notable black Americans that also featured luminaries such as Sojourner Truth, W.E.B. DuBois and Madam C.J. Walker, and included a foreword by Booker T. Washington. Fisher sold her famous beaten biscuits at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis and even baked for then-president of the United States, William Howard Taft, when he visited the Missouri State Fair. This December marks the 150th anniversary of Fisher’s birth. But most students — and most adults — who see Laboy’s presentation have never heard of Fisher. Even many who grew up in Columbia’s black community, including Clifton and Chicago-based food historian Donna Pierce, didn’t learn about Fisher until they were adults. Her story, effectively, has been erased. If not for the efforts of a few community activists like Laboy, it would stay that way. Fisher was born Anna R. Knowles in what’s now southeast Columbia on Dec. 3, 1867, to Robert and Charlotte Knowles. By 1907, Fisher had married and divorced William Fisher, a local reverend, and she had a 24-year-old daughter, Lucille Smith, whose father remains unknown today. 10


Fisher’s specialty dish, which built her fame and fortune, was her cured ham on beaten biscuits, a Southern delicacy around the turn of the 20th century. Fisher typically baked batches of 40 dozen hardtack-like biscuits at a time. They were called “beaten” because part of the preparation involved literally bludgeoning the dough with an axe handle a couple thousand times before cooking. She filled orders both in Boone County and nationally to places such as Los Angeles, Denver and New York City. In a March 1911 article in the Columbia University Missourian, she estimated she’d already made 1 million biscuits that year alone, a clear exaggeration, but an indication of the huge volumes of biscuits she regularly baked. She sold them for a dime a dozen, the equivalent of about $2 today, but she still sold so many that she amassed enormous wealth. She bought real estate and owned 18 houses, paid to build two beautifully furnished mansions and put her daughter through a music conservatory. “If I want to buy anything,” she proudly told attendees at a 1919 National Negro Business League meeting in St. Louis, “I don’t need to ask for credit, for I can write my check.” Although she would never reveal just how much money she had in her bank account, a 1927 Springfield Leader article estimated it at over $100,000, which

would’ve made her a millionaire today. “She capitalized on the perception of others all the way to the bank,” Laboy says. “I mean, if people wanted the good food and the good service, they would reschedule their parties and weddings and receptions so that Annie Fisher could accommodate them.” Fisher died in 1938. Her first house located at 608 Park Ave. downtown was razed in the 1960s. Her second house on Old Highway 63 met the wrecking ball right before Homecoming weekend in 2011. By that time, her gravestone in Memorial Cemetery had sunk into the ground, covered in moss and standing water to the point that it was practically invisible. Annie Fisher had been forgotten. To bring back the story of Fisher, Laboy did years of research in the late 1990s, collecting oral histories from older community members — many of whom have since died — who’d met Fisher. When she began to ask them about Fisher and her beaten biscuits, they really opened up to her. “I’ve never done anything like this before,” Laboy says. “It’s like the spirit of Annie Fisher just possessed me, and I just became passionate about telling her story because it was one of resilience and success and a seemingly impossible period of time. Not only for women, but for a black woman at that.” However, it is precisely because Fisher was a black

“It’s like the spirit of Annie Fisher just possessed me, and I just became passionate about telling her story because it was one of resilience and success and a seemingly impossible period of time — not only for women, but for a black woman at that.” — Verna Laboy

woman that her story was excluded from the historical narrative. “History gets told from a white cultural perspective, and as it gets written from that perspective, then all of these things fall through the cracks,” says food historian Donna Pierce, who grew up in Columbia and has studied Annie Fisher. “And that’s why it’s so important to bring them up now.” Before the 1960s, says Gary Kremer, the executive director of the State Historical Society of Missouri, mainstream historians typically focused on white men involved in war, politics or diplomacy. They also ignored sources of social history, such as oral tradition, and instead relied primarily on documents written by the people they were studying. However, especially in the Civil War era and Fisher’s time, laws and prejudicial norms prevented black people from learning to read and write, much less earn the money and influence necessary to publish books about themselves. By focusing on sources such as autobiographies and personal letters, historians ended up skipping over black people’s stories because, as Kremer says, “If you’re relying only on written records, that precludes people who couldn’t write.” It was not until the civil rights movement, Kremer says, that historians began to pay much more attention to the so-called “forgotten people” and accept oral history projects similar to Laboy’s, which paved the way for stories like Fisher’s to resurface. “People get remembered because people with power and wealth decide they’re worth remembering,” Kremer says. This structural power imbalance, deeply embedded in historiography, spills over into other disciplines, too. The fact that the story of Fisher, as a successful local black woman, is still not a regular part of Columbia’s school curriculums is, in Laboy’s eyes, emblematic of the problems with the American educational system. She questions why students’ only exposure to Fisher is in scenarios like her presentations. “What I don’t like about American history is that it’s so full of lies and biases,” Laboy says. “If we could just get the real history told — I mean, why isn’t Annie Fisher and many other people’s stories written anywhere? Well, it wasn’t important. So you only get pieces of the truth; we don’t get the real history of our communities.” Adrian Clifton, an MU College of Education community liaison and Laboy’s daughter, isn’t surprised Fisher’s story hasn’t been included in schools. It’s

ANNIE FISHER’S BEATEN BISCUITS Beaten biscuits, the food on which Annie Fisher built her fame, were a delicacy in the South in the late 1800s, food writer Donna Pierce says. Pierce grew up in Columbia — the daughter of famed educators and civil rights activists Muriel and Eliot Battle — and says she didn’t learn about Fisher until adulthood. Once Pierce learned she’d grown up attending the same church Fisher did, St. Paul A.M.E. Church, across the street from a home on Sixth and Park downtown she didn’t know had belonged to Fisher, Pierce began to look into Fisher’s story and culinary importance.

HOW TO BEAT THEM The “beaten” part of beaten biscuits is incredibly physically demanding, Pierce says. After you mix together the flour, lard, milk and sugar, salt and baking powder, you have to violently whack the dough to soften it.

TECHNOLOGY OF BISCUITS When Pierce recreated Fisher’s recipe, she found that a food processor did the trick. But a century ago, she says, it took up to a couple thousand strokes with an axe handle until the dough would blister and pop. Then you’d cut them up, poke holes in them and bake them long and slow. They rise slightly and come out firm, not flaky. “It was something so labor-intensive that one

of the things that I read was that only somebody who’s enslaved would make them,” Pierce says. Because the beating took about an hour per batch, she says, it was hard to convince someone who wasn’t enslaved to do all that work. Fisher made it easier for herself by inventing a piece of hardware — a cocoa can with nails embedded in it — to poke holes in the biscuit dough more efficiently than a single fork. Fisher also made use of a new technology called a biscuit brake, akin to a laundry wringer, through which the baker presses the dough to tenderize it.

FAMILY RECIPES Pierce says Fisher’s recipe produced “little tiny tender flat biscuits, with a kind of an acquired taste.” But what really made them shine, she said, was that they were traditionally served halved, with razor-thin slices of salted country ham inside, which Fisher cured herself. Pierce says this is an example of the importance of keeping family recipes alive. “My big thing (is) about how important it is to pass down your recipes, no matter what your culture is,” she says. “It’s very important because there’s a lot more than what you eat. That it’s really a tradition about something that people before you did.” ­­— JARED KAUFMAN





“The erasure of black history is intentional. And so we’re going to be intentional about counteracting that narrative and bringing the truth to our curriculum. And it starts with Annie Fisher.” ­­—Adrian Clifton MU COMMUNITY LIAISON

representative of a larger trend of students learning from a whitewashed curriculum, which, she says, goes back to racism surrounding the origin of the school system at a time when black people were prohibited from attending white schools. “It’s bad because Columbia has a rich history, and we have a lot of amazing people who contributed to our community,” Clifton says. “The erasure of black history is intentional. And so we’re going to be intentional about counteracting that narrative and bringing the truth to our curriculum. And it starts with Annie Fisher.” To help rectify Fisher’s exclusion from Columbia schools, Clifton, who also leads a community group she started with Laboy called Worley Street Roundtable, is working with Columbia Public Schools on revamping the curriculum. CPS Superintendent Peter Stiepleman wrote in an email that one of the district’s goals is

Verna Laboy teaches her students about resilience during a time when black people were rarely allowed to start their own businesses. “If Annie Fisher could do it when black people weren’t expected to be successful ... you have no excuses,” Laboy says.

“to look at how we consider equity, diversity and inclusion in everything we do.” To this end, Clifton says Stiepleman asked a variety of groups, including Worley Street Roundtable, to help draft a more inclusive curriculum that will be rolled out within the next couple years. “We’re actually working behind the scenes with the school system to embed more culturally responsive history in the curriculum,” Clifton says. “And then at that time, we will have the power — which is such a

blessing — we’ll have the power to actually embed Annie Fisher and other histories in the curriculum, so there’s no excuse. It’ll be there in the curriculum, and teachers will be able to utilize it and book my mom and bring her in.” Now, other community groups are also trying to revitalize Fisher’s memory. The Sharp End Heritage Committee, which is planning Columbia’s new African American Heritage Trail, has chosen to add Fisher in

HIDDEN FIGURES OF COLUMBIA Many of Annie Fisher’s mid-Missouri black contemporaries have also been lost to what some might call the forces of history but what might be more aptly described as racism. “There are countless individuals in the history of the country and the history of the state, in the history of the county, in the history of this city, who contributed greatly to the making of the region, or the state, or the city, whose stories have not been told,” says Gary Kremer, executive director of the State Historical Society of Missouri,whose 2014 book, Race and Meaning: The African American Experience in Missouri, focuses on those individuals’ lives. “There are relatively few African Americans who are remembered.”

TOM BASS Born in 1859 to a slave mother and her owner, Bass became a world-famous horse trainer. At the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago, he represented Missouri, 12


and the Saddle-bred horse he trained and brought won the world championship. The list of people he trained to ride, trained horses for or showed his stables to is a “who’s who” of his time: Buffalo Bill Cody, Theodore Roosevelt, Queen Victoria, Will Rogers and P.T. Barnum.

HENRY KIRKLIN Kirklin was an award-winning horticulturist born in 1858 into slavery in Columbia. A 1924 issue of The Missouri Ruralist said that “Uncle Henry has many times been hailed America’s best negro gardener.” In Boone County, he grew grapes, plums, figs, celery and sweet potatoes, and he won national awards. Even MU, which would not hire its first tenured black faculty member, Arvarh Strickland, until 1969, took note and asked him to become the greenhouse supervisor, but the university did not bend its segregation policies. “He would lecture agriculture students when the

university was segregated,” says food writer Donna Pierce. “He was not allowed to come in the building; he had to stand on the porch of the school and lecture.”

JOSEPHINE SILONE YATES Yates was among the first black faculty members at what’s now Lincoln University in Jefferson City, though her official title was female assistant. She was an ardent supporter and the second president of the National Association of Colored Women. Yates reportedly taught subjects ranging from chemistry to English literature. She was also an accomplished writer and published many popular poems and magazine articles under the name R.K. Potter. “Even through the late 19th century and early 20th century, there were Yates literary clubs all over Missouri in black communities,” says Kremer. — JARED KAUFMAN

To fully embody the spirit of Annie Fisher, Verna Laboy dresses in a 19th-century ensemble from head to toe.

its list of important historic black figures in Columbia with a memorial marker at the site of her first home on Park Avenue. The idea to identify historic locations for markers along the trail developed in 2014, historian Mary Beth Brown says. The markers along the trail will symbolize the history of Columbia’s black community. The African American Heritage Trail, which runs through downtown and central Columbia, currently features signs memorializing the Sharp End, the black business district that existed between Fifth and Sixth streets north of Broadway until the 1960s; James T. Scott, a black MU janitor who was lynched from the Stewart Road Bridge near the MKT Trail in 1923; and the home of J. W. “Blind” Boone, a famous ragtime pianist. Fisher’s marker, Brown says, is one of many planned for the future. “With the markers, we’re really trying to get people to keep talking about Columbia’s history in that regard,” Brown says. “People do stop and read them, so I think it’ll be good. She’ll get kind of revitalized when we do one for her. At least I hope so.” However, not every effort to revive Fisher’s story has been successful. In 2010, Sheila Ruffin heard that the owners of a storage unit, who also owned Annie Fisher’s house on Old Highway 63, were planning to demolish the home to expand their business. So Ruffin started the Annie Fisher House Project to campaign for saving it. The first time Ruffin tried to find the house, she had one problem: She had no clue where it was. She drove up and down Old Highway 63, where it hooks around a roundabout near what’s now several student housing complexes, including Copper Beech, Campus Lodge and Grindstone Canyon. Her plan, she said, was just to find the house and walk around herself. She eventually went to the storage unit business and simply asked. It was right next door. The owners of the storage unit business — Old Highway 63 Mini Storage — offered to walk Ruffin around the home, and they showed her their plans to raze it. After having successfully petitioned the city to rezone the property from residential to commercial, the owners had quadrupled its valuation — if she wanted to buy it, they told her, she’d need over $1 million. For five years, Ruffin asked the Annie Fisher House Project to come up with the money, but the owners denied her request, so she only had a year and a half — not nearly enough time, she says. Raising that much money, no matter how many pamphlets, speeches, Facebook posts and prayers she made, was nearly impossible given the time constraints. “There was just really nothing I could do,” she says. “It felt like I was just dropping a stone down into a neverending well there.” With the physical reminders gone, the question of how to keep Fisher’s memory alive, for Kremer, is one he says he’s struggled with for much of his professional life. The best way to honor someone’s memory, Kremer says, is simply to remember them and to learn their story. That’s where Laboy comes in. Reenacting the life of Annie Fisher is a volunteer effort for Laboy. She takes time off from her work as a city health educator and community activist, and she puts in a significant amount of preparatory time into each presentation she’s done since 1996. Yet she still hopes more classroom teachers and community organizations will call on her to put on the apron and haul her turn-of-the-century biscuit machine out of her closet. That way, she accomplishes her main objective of making sure Fisher’s story — a story of the black community’s success in Columbia — “won’t die with me.” “The resilience, the beating the odds, rising above the perception of others and capitalizing on it to a point where she grew to be very successful,” Laboy says. “And it didn’t really matter to her what other people thought of her. She was so good at what she did, and she loved it.” This is the message Laboy, as Fisher, gives every time she presents. When she visits classrooms, she says she hopes that students, by hearing the stories of Fisher and other figures in Columbia’s history who overcame considerable obstacles, will be encouraged to not let anything stand in their way. “I challenge young people (to) find your niche and be the best at it and market it,” Laboy says. “No one gave her a loan; she had to work and save her money and earn her money and expand and grow her business. And she had to do that herself. And was it fair? Was it easy? No, but she was the best there was.” 08.24.17





Never too late: Music lessons aren’t just for kids Local studios allow adults to start a new hobby or rekindle an old passion BY CATHERINE WHEELER Playing a musical instrument is an enriching hobby to pick up at any age. “A lot of people think it’s too late,” says Nate White of Palen Music Center. “Too late is the biggest lie.” David MacSpadden is an occupational therapist who takes vocal lessons from Ellen Williamson, the owner of Blue Room Music Studio. He started five years ago because of his interest in community theater and desire to try out for singing roles in musicals. MacSpadden says the opportunity to learn how to sing musical theater songs is part of the fun of having lessons. “Everybody’s got a type of music they really enjoy, and just getting the opportunity to do the kind of music that you enjoy, I just can’t imagine why anyone would not want to do it,” MacSpadden says. If you’re looking to check an item off the bucket list, take some extra time for yourself or even spend more time with your kids, this list of local instructors can help guide you to the teacher who will be the best fit for you.

Ellen Williamson, Blue Room Music Studio

Williamson has a master’s degree in music education from Bowling Green University. She teaches both voice and piano students in her home. Many of the adults coming to her for vocal lessons participate in community theater and want to prepare for auditions. Williamson teaches lessons year-round and offers classes for adults at times that fit a working schedule. Cost: $20 for a 30-minute lesson Contact: 529-9257

Nate White and Jack Falby, Palen Music Center White and Falby have about 320 students in weekly lessons at the

store, and more than 100 of those are adults. At Palen, you can learn to play instruments such as drums, bass and piano. White says he sees parents bringing their children in for lessons because the parents never had the chance to take lessons themselves. He then asks them why they don’t try, too. Some adults are nervous at the start, but they soon question why they didn’t start sooner. White and Falby say learning an instrument with your child is a great way to spend time with them. “We actually have a couple families three generations deep,” White says. Cost: $85/month for a weekly, 30-minute lesson Contact: 256-5555

Get tickets at rootsnbluesnbbq.com Ellen Williamson plays the piano during a vocal lesson with one of her students at Blue Room Music Studio. Williamson runs the music studio out of her basement.





TICKETS ONLY $5 8 finalists; 1 wins the SUV, 7 win $500! Purchase tickets at www.SOMO.org/Win David MacSpadden takes a vocal lesson at Blue Room Music Studio with music teacher Ellen Williamson. MacSpadden says he enjoys singing musical theater songs.


Missouri Automobile Dealers Association

Lisa Rosenkrantz

Rosenkrantz has taught music for 30 years, including teaching saxophone, flute and clarinet to children and adult students. She says that when she teaches adults, she sees the initiative to practice. The biggest challenge for students learning these instruments is controlling their breath. Cost: $150/month for a weekly, one-hour lesson Contact: 489-7660

Greg Allers, A Major Music Lessons

A Major offers lessons for a variety of instruments including brass instruments, woodwinds and drums. When Allers teaches adults, he incorporates music theory and explains how the instruments work. In addition to having a studio, Allers and 16 instructors make house visits PHOTO BY ERIN ACHENBACH

for lessons. Allers says the goal of his company is to provide quality lessons, so he trains each instructor before he or she begins teaching. Cost: $20 for a 30-minute lesson Contact: 847-807-1800


Raffle benefits 15,300 Special Olympics Missouri athletes!

Dustin Butterworth

Butterworth is a musician who teaches guitar and bass. He says the difference he sees between adults and children as students is that adults come in with more passion. With kids, their parents generally make them take lessons. He says learning an instrument is often something on peoples’ bucket lists, and once in retirement age, as most of his clients are, they finally have the time to play. His students typically request to learn hymns or other worship music. Cost: $50/month for a weekly, 30-minute lesson Contact: 823-1507 08.24.17





Review: ‘Into the Water’ teems with death and depth Town river reveals dark history in acclaimed author’s recent novel BY TARYN PARKER

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Paula Hawkins’ second novel, Into the Water, uncovers an investigation of what appears to be a simple body of water. Similar to her No. 1 New York Times bestseller The Girl on the Train, Hawkins continues to write in the suspenseful, chilling manner that has thrilled her many readers. The story focuses on a river in Beckford, a small town outside of Worcester, England, and the fate of those who encounter this water. This mysterious river, known as the Drowning Pool, haunts the families of women and girls who have died in it. The death of single mother Nel Abbott leaves behind her estranged sister Jules Abbott, the protagonist, and her 15-year-old daughter, Lena Abbott. The two untangle family secrets and unravel a history that was never meant to resurface. Each chapter is told from a different point of view. The chapters cycle between Jules, Lena and other members of the community who suffered a loss by the water. After Nel is found dead alongside the river, there is suspicion as to whether an accident, suicide or something in the water led to her death. Since leaving their hometown, Jules refused to keep in contact with

The Zimbabwe-born British author is best known for her psychological thriller, The Girl on the Train. Her second book, Into the Water, continues similar themes, such as death and mystery.

Nel because of an incident that had happened at the river when they were teenagers. Now, Jules is forced to return and try to piece together her sister’s death. Throughout her stay, Jules explores the secretive depths of her hometown, confronting her past to figure out what happened to her sister and why. Despite her typical dark material, Hawkins has a softer side. She used to write books under the alias Amy Silver, whose style reveals a different persona. Writing under this pen name, Hawkins sends her readers’ hearts soaring with stories of romance. These books are beach reads that resemble Hallmark movies. They are easily devoured and lighthearted. Silver’s works include themes of love, friendship and self-identity, as in Confessions of a Reluctant Recessionista and One Minute to Midnight. The lovable characters in these books are enticing, but not in a way that leaves one feeling anxious and creeped out. Hawkins’ Into the Water is sure to submerge readers in another gripping story they won’t want to put down. PHOTO BY JOHN MOEN/AP

JOSH SMITH of Barred Owl Butcher & Table cuts through the mysteries surrounding modern butchery


hen you think of a butcher shop, you might imagine the meat freezer in Rocky or a bellowing man in a bloodied apron beside hanging swine. But Barred Owl Butcher & Table is different. The restaurant/craft bar/ butchery works like a co-op, with each person and feature facilitating the other through quality ingredients and expertise. Josh Smith is not your typical butcher. He’s a co-owner of the restaurant with Brandy Hughes and Ben Parks — all former Sycamore restaurant employees. Smith is also the sommelier at Barred Owl, and he makes the restaurant’s amaro and anisette liqueurs in-house. Bar manager Andrew Ruth says Smith knows as much about wine as anyone in Columbia. Barred Owl, which opened in September 2016, features whole-animal butchery, in which every part of the animal is used. You’ll find some curious meat items on the menu, such as hog head cheese, which isn’t a cheese at all but a terrine similar to meatloaf made from the head of a pig. To slice into the good stuff, Vox met up with Smith to discuss his role at Barred Owl Butcher & Table. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? The first solid memory I had was actually wanting to be a journalist. On my mom’s side of the family, my grandma wrote, her sisters wrote, my great grandpa was an editor of a newspaper. I remember at one 18


point wanting to be in some branch of the military. But that faded, and by high school, I wanted to be a rock ’n’ roller. How did you get into this craft? I was into cooking as a chef and into Italian food specifically, and I wanted certain parts of an animal so that I could make or cure certain things. Getting those things wasn’t easy. Buying animals in parts — the price goes way up. I decided to get a whole pig, and then it spiraled out from there. Once you get the whole animal, you don’t want it to go to waste. Is the whole-animal concept of Barred Owl for the purpose of sustainability, or is it a choice made out of respect? It’s definitely all of that. It’s showing respect for every aspect of the animal, and it ties in with some sustainability inherent in making sure you use everything. You start down that thought pattern, and then it becomes, “OK, how did that animal live? What was it fed? What are the broader ramifications of what they fed that animal? What corporations are benefiting or not benefiting from how those animals are being fed, and what does feeding animals do to the land?” Is there an animal that is particularly difficult to cut? Yeah, cows. They’re big. It’s the sheer mass of them.

The shoulder alone weighs more than a goat or more than a lamb. So just trying to maneuver that, once you even get the parts that are small enough to fit on your table, it’s still a matter of trying to grab a hook and carve around the bones. It’s just step by step. Do you have any friends who are vegetarians? My wife grew up vegetarian. Even when we were dating and engaged, she didn’t really eat meat. Even now for us, we don’t really eat meat if it’s not produced the way we want it to be. So that’s sort of an inherent requirement that’s still there for her to eat it in the first place. What’s your favorite cut of meat, and how do you like it prepared? The great irony is that I try to make meat an appropriate portion of my diet. Just because I cut it up all day doesn’t mean it’s the only thing I’m eating. So, I think animal protein is a very important part of how we are genetically wired to eat. I think my favorite meat item to eat is probably a Spanish jamon, made from the Iberico breed of pig and finished on acorns while free-roaming on the oak “dehesa” (a type of ecosystem) of Spain. It’s the most expensive ham in the world, and it’s also the best. I think that if I had to only eat one meat ever again in my life, that would be it. — LIS JOYCE PHOTO BY ERIN ACHENBACH


this week in Columbia

ARTS & CULTURE Little Shop of Horrors

In honor of the once-in-a-lifetime total eclipse, Columbia Entertainment Company brings you the deviously delicious Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi smash musical, Little Shop of Horrors. This cult classic has devoured the hearts of theatregoers for over 30 years. Today, 7:30–9:30 p.m., Columbia Entertainment Company, $10–14, 474-3699

Svetlana Grobman Photo Show

Freelance photographer and writer Svetlana Grobman showcases her photography of Missouri nature, Columbia street culture and the True/False Film Fest. Earlier this year, she was selected as the artist for the Columbia Commemorative Poster. Through Sunday, 11–1:30 a.m., Tellers Gallery & Bar, Free, 441-8355

Focus Exhibit — “Courtiers, Courtesans and Crones: Women in Japanese Prints”

This exhibit focuses on Japanese male artists’ depictions of women during the Tokugawa period, which was often in a courtesan role, and features prints and carvings. Make sure to check out this exhibit, as some prints have never been on display before. Through Sunday, 9 a.m.–4 p.m., Museum of Art and Archaeology, Free, 882-3591

The Clip Show: Vintage Dance Videos & the History of Swing Dance

Enjoy an introduction to the history of swing featuring dance demos and vintage dance footage, all put on by Mizzou Swing Society. Following the short program, there will be

a showing of the 1937 Marx Brothers film A Day at the Races. Monday, 7–9 p.m., The Kinder Institute at Jesse Hall, Free, 884-2196

“It Happened” Art Exhibition

“It Happened” features local and national artists who create work on the issue of sexual violence. These works, some including personal stories, address the reality of rape and sexual assault on university campuses, at K–12 schools and in communities regionally, nationally and around the world. Mon.–Wed., 8 a.m.–5 p.m., George Caleb Bingham Gallery, Free, 882-3555

CIVIC Theological Movie Night and Community Discussion

All are invited to Olivet Christian Church’s event to explore and discuss the topic of immigration. After a viewing of the documentary Who is Dayani Cristal?, which follows migrant travelers as they cross the border, a special guest panel will offer insights and answer questions about immigration. Friday, 6:30 p.m., Olivet Christian Church Fellowship Hall, Free, 442-0336

Connor’s Cave Tours

During “Weekends on the Boardwalk,” you can enjoy a free guided tour of Connor’s Cave using park lights and helmets. Walk along the many hiking trails until you reach Devil’s Icebox, where park staff and volunteers will teach you about caves, bats and the pink planarian. Each tour lasts about 20 minutes. Saturday, 1–4 p.m., Rock Bridge Memorial State Park, Free, 449-7402

DON’T MISS: MISSOURI RIVER DAYS Missouri River Relief is taking fourth graders from Columbia Public Schools out to the Missouri River for a series of three educational events. This hands-on experience allows kids to meet a fisheries biologist and learn about river safety and how to make a tree guide. Monday and Wednesday, morning and afternoon sessions, Eagle Bluffs, Free, 443-0292

FOOD & DRINK Cask Night at Broadway Brewery

Try a new brew, and listen to live tunes at Broadway Brewery’s Cask Night every Thursday. Each week, Broadway Brewery creates a new half-keg concoction from one of its base beers and adds fruits, spices, herbs and hops. Today, 5 p.m., Broadway Brewery, Free, 443-5054

MUSIC Get the Led Out – The American Led Zeppelin

Renowned for bringing the legendary Led Zeppelin’s music to life on concert stages everywhere, GTLO strives to do justice to one of the greatest bands in rock history. Embraced by critics and fans alike, GTLO will take you back to the ‘60s and ‘70s as it recreates the iconic British band’s distinct studio sound and brings the Led Zeppelin experience to the stage. Saturday, 6–11 p.m., Ozarks Amphitheater in Camden County, $19.50, 504-351-4655

SPORTS Red Shoe Bike Ride

Enjoy a day of cycling with 20-, 35- or 62-mile routes. After the ride, there will be an after-party with live music, Shakespeare’s Pizza and a Bur Oak Brewing Co. beer garden benefiting the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Mid-Missouri. Saturday, 7:30 a.m.–4 p.m., Shakespeare’s Pizza South, $35-75, 443-7666

SCREEN DON’T MISS: IRON & WINE Enjoy an evening of slow jams and heartfelt lyrics courtesy of artist Iron & Wine with special guest Lydia Loveless. His album Beast Epic employs different genres and songwriting styles to create the picture of pleasures and disappointments. Sunday, 7 p.m. door; 8 p.m. show, The Blue Note, $26.50 in advance; $29 at the door, 874-1944


All Saints (PG)

All Saints tells the true story of Michael Spurlock, a salesmans-turned-pastor who, through faith and farming, works to save a small church with the help of a group of refugees from Southeast Asia. R RUNTIME = 1:48

Good Time (PG-13)

Two siblings attempt to rob a bank, but one sibling is detained. Constantine tries to rescue his brother from jail as he attempts to secure bail money. R RUNTIME = 1:40

Leap! (PG)

Chasing her dreams, a young orphan girl leaves for Paris in search of fame. The new animation includes the voices of Carly Rae Jepsen and Elle Fanning. F, R RUNTIME = 1:29

RiffTrax Live: Doctor Who – The Five Doctors (PG-13)

See a live show of the 1983 Doctor Who film The Five Doctors. The Doctor’s past selves battle Daleks, Cyberment, Yeti and a Time Lord Traitor. F RUNTIME = 2:00

Work (NR)

Jenny (Cynthia Kaplan) is searching for a job during the economic bust of the late 1980s. Frustrated by her husband, she has a love affair with a young neighbor. As the affair draws to a close, Jenny struggles with the life she has built. RT RUNTIME = 1:30

Still playing

Annabelle: Creation (R) F, R Baby Driver (R) R The Big Sick (R) R, RT The Dark Tower (PG-13) F, R Despicable Me 3 (PG) F, R Dunkirk (2017) (PG-13) F, R The Emoji Movie (PG) F, R Girls Trip (R) F, R The Glass Castle (PG-13) RT The Hitman’s Bodyguard (R) F, R Logan Lucky (PG-13) F, R Nocturama (NR) RT The Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature (PG) F Spider-man: Homecoming (PG) R The Surrounding Game (NR) RT War for the Planet of the Apes (PG) R Wind River (R) RT Wonder Woman (PG-13) F, R Theaters F = Forum RT = Ragtag R = Regal = available in 3D





t o H Spot

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New Late Night Happy Hour Specials

709 Cherry St. • 256-1995

Established 2006

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JOIN US ate Night BEFORE & LHappy Hour Our Kitchen AFTER THE 8pm to is Open GAME!! 11pm until Midnight

HAPPY HOUR 3:30 - 7 • Buy one, get one FREE Apps Specials on all Draft Beer, House Drinks, Long Island Tea, Long Beach Tea, Sweet Tarts

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DEUCE PUB & PIT FALL CO-ED VOLLEYBALL SIGN-UPS!!! Leagues Start Monday, September 5th thru Sunday, September 17th More Info at www.DeucePub.com or call (573) 443 - 4350 Happy Hour 3:30pm to 7pm

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For more info on how to make your business The Hot Spot, call 882-5545

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