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Sedona Library presents ‘Route 66 Women: Film Screening and Discussion’

Originally Published: May 13, 2019 10:14 a.m.

Route 66 Women: The Untold Story of the Mother Road, screening and discussion, will take place Sunday, May 19, 2-4 p.m., at Sedona Public Library, 3250 White Bear Road in the Library’s Si Birch Community Room.

This event is free and open to the public.

Filmmaker Katrina Parks will show segments from her documentary film series that looks in depth at Arizona’s Route 66 legacy.

In this ongoing project, Parks captures the oral histories of the women who worked and lived along Route 66. Through their eyes and experiences, we learn stories of women who overcame segregation and gender discrimination to build fulfilling lives for themselves on America’s most beloved road.

Route 66 has struck a chord with Americans and an ever growing international audience since its inception in 1926.  

It’s roughly 2,400 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles still represent the ultimate American Experience, and almost 100 years later it still beckons the traveler. However, the narrative of the road, as conveyed by popular culture and historical works, has primarily focused on men and often overlooked the experiences of women and girls.

Parks has worked with museums and other associations interested in exploring Route 66 from a new feminist angle.

Interviews, photographs, and links to archival sources for this project can be found on the website developed by Katrina Parks, “The Women on the Mother Road,” www.route66women.com.

For the May 19 event, Parks will be joined by Sean Evans, the archivist for Northern Arizona University’s Cline Library, and Marshall Trimble, Arizona’s state historian.

They will provide context for the screened segments in a discussion following the film and explore the mythology, nostalgia, and authenticity surrounding the “Mother Road” as it was coined by John Steinbeck.

The film documents the stories of many women, including the Route 66 experience of Linda SooHoo, who was born in 1924 in Canton, China and moved to Winslow in 1947, with her husband, Fred SooHoo.

Over the next 60 years, she and her husband ran many successful businesses, but she is probably best known as the creator of “Freddy’s Tacos” at Freddy’s Drive-in, which opened in 1966. 

Three of Linda’s children (one of whom was interviewed for the film) are planning to attend the event in Sedona. 

This film is a follow up project for Parks who created the historical documentary film The Harvey Girls: Opportunity Bound, which aired on PBS and sold out several screenings at the Sedona Film Festival.

The event is made possible with support from Arizona Humanities, a non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Sedona Public Library.