About Voices of Marlin

On the site you will find video interviews, recent events, and historical information submitted by and for the descendants of the area slave plantations and the people of Marlin. Residents are taking part in a unique new tool that lets them tell their own history, in their own voices.

Marlin, Texas is a small community about 28 miles east of Waco, in Central Texas. Marlin's history began, long ago, as a central point of commerce to service the slave plantations that existed along the Brazos River Valley. One of those plantations was Tomlinson Hill, and that's how we came by our story...

Chris Tomlinson, the last white descendant of the Tomlinson Hill plantation, and Loreane Tomlinson, one of the black descendants, both had the idea to come back to Marlin at the same time - independently of each other. They met, connected, and began to share their stories.

Voices of Marlin is an homage to the history of Marlin, its people, its traditions, and most importantly, its future. History is still in the making, and we believe that the residents of Marlin should be the ones to tell their own stories.

Website Production

Chris Tomlinson
Executive Producer

Chris Tomlinson was the East Africa bureau chief for the Associated Press in Nairobi, Kenya, from June 2004 to August 2007. Tomlinson has reported extensively from Ethiopia, Zanzibar, Congo, Sudan and Somalia. Before joining the AP, he worked for Tokyo's Asahi Shimbun in South Africa and Kenya from 1993-1995. He graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 1992 with special honors in humanities. Chris currently serves as the Associated Press Supervisory Correspondent at the Austin bureau.

Lisa Kaselak
Producer, Executive Producer

Lisa Kaselak is a filmmaker and Asst. Professor of film at Southern Methodist University. Her documentary films include The Soup Peddler, Doubting Darwin, and Let Them Eat Cake, which was a national Student Academy Award finalist. Her short film, Repetition (With Variation), premiered at Clermont Ferrand in 2007 and was subsequently sold to Swedish Public Television (SVT). Lisa worked in the fields of Web IA and Usability, served as the first hetero Director of Programming for The Austin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival, and worked in film production in camera dept roles. Lisa received her MFA in film production from UT Austin in 2006.

Kai Mantsch
Site Developer

Kai Mantsch has been writing computer software since 1983 and working as a filmmaker since 1996. Kai has worked on numerous independent films from features Dogs Bark and Across the Room to documentaries Blaze Foley: Duct Tape Messiah, Slam Planet, The Dicky Box, Of Suicides and Dreams and Bill Bradley's New American Story. He received his degree in Rhetoric/Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign in May, 1995.

Lee Billington
Site Designer

Lee Billington is a designer specializing in web and interactive design since 1998. His designs have ranged from work for Dell and the University of Texas to politics including 2008 Presidential candidate, Rudy Giuliani. Lee is the Creative Director for Upstream Communications in Austin, TX and owner of Red Lion Studios, a firm focused on interactive development.

Sean McCarthy
Video Training Partner

Sean McCarthy (Digital Media Literacy Trainer) is a doctoral student in the Department of Rhetoric and Writing, and an Assistant Director of the Digital Writing and Research Lab. He is currently working on a community engagement initiative project in Mart, Texas, where he is working with the High and Middle schools to teach digital literacy skills to students and teachers.

Project Advisors

Dr. Alwyn Barr

Dr. Alwyn Barr is professor emeritus of history at Texas Tech University. Among his five authored books are: Black Texans: A History of African Americans in Texas, 1528-1995 and African Texans. He also has edited, with Robert A. Calvert, Black Leaders: Texans for Their Times and has written the Introduction to Black Cowboys of Texas, edited by Sara R. Massey, as well as several articles on African American history in professional journals. He is a former president of the Texas State Historical Association and a former board member of Humanities Texas.

Dr. Stephen Sloan

Dr. Stephen Sloan is the Director at the Center for Oral History, Baylor University. and a public historian specializing in 20th-century U.S. history, the American West, environmental history and community history. He received a bachelor's degree in accounting and a master's degree in history from Baylor, and he earned a doctorate in public history and U.S. history from Arizona State University. Additionally, he has completed post-baccalaureate work in history at the University of California at Los Angeles. Prior to directing the Institute at Baylor, Sloan served as co-director of the Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage at the University of Southern Mississippi.

Dr. Fred L. McGhee

Dr. Fred L. McGhee is a maritime archaeologist and historical anthropologist whose area of expertise encompasses the maritime dimension of the African Diaspora, particularly the role of both African and African-American slave trading in the conquest and colonization of the Americas. He is the author of The Black Crop: Slavery and Slave Trading in Nineteenth Century Texas an interdisciplinary investigation which is the first major academic study of both African and African-American slave trading in the Lone Star State during this important time period told from an African-American perspective.

Nedra Lee

Nedra Lee is a historical archaeologist whose research interests include the African Diaspora, historical memory, the preservation of cemeteries and African American labor and property ownership following Emancipation in Texas.  Lee received her BA in anthropology from Oberlin College in Ohio and her MA in anthropology from UT Austin.  Her MA research focused on the preservation efforts conducted at the Bull Hill Cemetery in Marlin, Falls County, Texas. Lee was awarded the Ford Foundation Diversity Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in 2008 and continues to work with descendant community members in Marlin documenting the history of Bull Hill.