About Us

Learn About Our Story

A stately Romanesque Revival church just south of Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee, Clayborn Temple began life with a white congregation in 1892 as Second Presbyterian. In 1949, the church was sold to an African-American congregation, who changed the property’s name to Clayborn Temple in honor of a local African Methodist Episcopal (AME) bishop. During the Sanitation Workers’ Strike of 1968, civil rights and labor activists organized together inside Clayborn Temple. The “I AM A MAN” signs created by the congregation’s pastor with his own printing press have since become a universal symbol for human rights and human dignity.

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Today, the “I AM A MAN” signs remain relevant everywhere, from protests close to home in Ferguson to halfway around the world in Egypt. Clayborn Temple closed in 1999 and fell into disrepair, but it has since reopened. The building hosts special events like weddings and live performances, is once again home to a congregation, and is also a meeting space for local and national organizations. Most importantly, the community members and preservation organizations who have kept Clayborn Temple alive are dedicated to preserving its legacy as the site where activists first organized around the idea that poverty and race were inextricably bound. (c/o :2018 National Trust for Historic Preservation).

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Clayborn Temple reborn currently serves as a space for restoration, artistic production, social innovation, economic justice, and community transformation. The space works to restore Clayborn Temple’s historic space in a way that both honors it’s architectural past and enables its programmatic future. Clayborn Temple works to re-engage the social mission that bears witness to the reality of God’s love and that honors the dignity of their neighbors. And lastly, Clayborn Temple works to renew Clayborn to the surrounding community by partnering with local neighbors to see South City become a thriving community for all of its residents.

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Anasa Troutman

Executive Director
Anasa Troutman stepped into leadership as the first Executive Director of the historic Clayborn Temple in Memphis. Ms. Troutman has provided strategic and creative support in many important cultural political & social justice spaces; she has designed & facilitated national learning exchanges served as a consulting producer trained & transitioned the leadership of organizations to integrate cultural strategy as a community organizing tactic. Anasa holds a bachelor's degree in Biological Science from Spelman College.
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Christine Anglin

Deputy Director
Christine Anglin is a strategist collaborator and storyteller. A graduate of the Howard University School of Business she began her career in finance. After five years working in the financial sector she transitioned to the arts where she proved herself to be a gifted program developer and manager. Christine has a heart for community and connection. Through storytelling she seeks to engage community connect people and encourage understanding. A skilled organizer she has launched directed and produced both programs and shows. She is also an essayist poet and avid runner.
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Sydney Wessinger

Preservation Specialist
Sydney Wessinger is the newest edition to the Clayborn Staff. A graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana and a lover of history she brings several years of curatorial experience. As a storyteller she is dedicated to the preservation and interpretation of the African American narrative through a historical lense. Incorporating passion and professionalism she exhibits a strong work ethic and a desire to connect with her audience. Dedicated to service she prioritizes the conservation of material culture as a necessary means in community revitalization. Sydney also holds a master's degree in Museology from Southern University.
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Vahisha Hasan

Programs Manager
Vahisha Hasan is a faith-rooted organizer moving at the intersections of faith social justice and mental health. She is a powerful public speaker transformative facilitator social justice trainer minister and writer with a deeply prophetic voice and imagination for how faith communities can be an active part of healing and collective liberation. Vahisha holds a dual Master’s of Divinity and Masters of Mental Health Counseling with an Education Specialist Certification from Gardner-Webb University and a bachelor’s degree in Communications with a concentration in Interpersonal Organization from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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Corey Martin

Office Coordinator
Born to the land of Woodstock TN Corey Martin known affectionately as Corey Lou came into this world as a born-to-be performer. Gifted with a heart for soul and the ear of a true musician Lou began his journey as an artist from the young age of five singing the deep gospel sound of the Memphis choirs to the rugged soul riffs so well trained at the infamous STAX Music Academy to the polished classical content worthy of Carnegie Hall's stages. It’s safe to say that Lou does it all. Mr. Lou is a phenomenal singer songwriter actor entertainer and most importantly a graduate of Mississippi HBCU Alcorn State University.