March 2014
Rachel Olsen keeps everyone's spirits up as staff and interns waited out a recent tornado warning in  the dark and gloomy basement of the Love House.
Field Notes
Stories from the Southern Oral History Program

Greetings from the Associate Director

 

In just over two weeks, on April 4th, we will be gathering in Wilson Library to celebrate the Southern Oral History Program's 40th Anniversary.  In all the flurry to get ready, it's easy to forget about the significance of what we will be honoring.  I want to take this moment to share with you some of my reflections as we get ready for this great occasion.

 

It's been a real delight to participate in the planning of this event, mostly because of the eagerness with which so many people have embraced the challenge. From past and present interns, who are dusting off their performance shoes and creating a brand new oral history walking tour, to our field scholars who are helping find and highlight gems from our collection, to staff who have worked tirelessly to create a new exhibit on the history of the program, to interviewees who have agreed to share their views with us on an afternoon panel, they and many others have jumped at the opportunity to share with the community how important the work of the SOHP is.

 

It strikes me that the way we have been digging through old archives, interviews, photos, and recollections in order to try to tell the story of the SOHP is much like the work of our program itself.  We facilitate the telling of stories, people's stories, so that the significance of their lives can be documented, preserved, shared, and understood. 

 

I hope those of you who are in the area will join us on April 4th for this wonderful event.  Take the audio walking tour; watch the student performances; listen as interviewers and interviewees talk about the process of oral history; learn about some of our newest projects; share your own stories of doing interviews or being interviewed in our recording "booth"; help us blow out the candles on the cake and raise a glass to toast the past, present and future of the Southern Oral History Program!

 

-- Rachel F. Seidman, Associate Director

 

Lowery's Film Private Violence Premiers at Sundance

 

Congratulations to SOHP Director Malinda Maynor Lowery, co-producer of the documentary film Private Violence, which premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, UT.

 

Directed and produced by Durham filmmaker Cynthia Hill, Private Violence is rooted in the extraordinary courage of two women, Kit Gruelle and Deanna Walters, who shed light on the cycles of abuse and the shortcomings of law enforcement and the justice system. In the process, they represent hope, empowerment, and the possibility of change. Kit, a domestic violence survivor, has been an advocate for battered women for more than 25 years. Through the film, we are privy to her training sessions with police, consultations with experts in the medical and legal fields, and-most critically-her work with individuals, particularly Deanna. As a young mother, Deanna survived a kidnapping and brutal beatings by her ex-husband. When Deanna's case went to federal court, the stakes were raised as she and Kit battled to reunite her with her daughter, to keep her abuser behind bars, and to help her regain her dignity. 

 

Private Violence will be featured at the Oral History Association Conference in Madison, Wisconsin in October, 2014. 

Field Scholar Spotlight:  Darius Scott

In his inaugural semester with the Southern Oral History Project, Geography Ph.D. candidate Darius Scott joins the team of SOHP field scholars with a rich background in the study of race relations and segregation in the South. 

 

Upon completing his undergraduate work in English at Morehouse College, Darius went on to earn a graduate degree in urban planning at Rutgers University. Now pursuing a doctorate in geography, Darius' main focus lies in the marriage of history and geography. He wishes to continue eminent historian Clyde Woods' research involving black geography and the union of many disciplines, including art, literature, history, geography, and oral history, in order to more fully understand race issues. 

 

As a first year doctoral student, Darius is still honing his thesis, which involves early desegregation attempts in North Carolina. Darius strongly resists the notion that historical and cultural data for African Americans did not exist until the present time. Instead, he believes the collective history of African Americans is rich with the voices of the ordinary people who never make it into the history textbooks. The lack of these voices in the current historical literature and the desire to "fill the void," as he says, led Darius to oral history and eventually the Southern Oral History Project. Darius sums up his research as "historically black issues from a black perspective." 

 

Scholarly interests aside, this native North Carolinian enjoys James Patterson mystery thriller novels and the Mission Impossible films. Welcome to the team, Darius! 

 
--Katie Crook, SOHP Communications Intern
Meet the New Moxie Scholars!
From Left to Right: Brittany, Erin, Sarah, Elisabeth, Meg and Cara.

We are delighted to introduce the new crop of Moxie Scholars!  This is the second year of The Moxie Project UNC: Women and Leadership for Social Change.  The SOHP partners with the Carolina Women's Center, the Department of Women's and Gender Studies, and the History Department to offer this exciting year-long experience for undergraduates. The students take a spring semester course in the history of women's activism, which this year is being taught by Michele Tracy Berger of Women's and Gender Studies.  The students then undertake summer internships in Triangle organizations that support women and their families.  Students will be placed this summer at NC Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Lillian's List, Benevolence Farm, and The North Carolina Justice Center. On Fridays during their summer, we meet for a weekly seminar in which the students reflect on their experiences and discuss readings about the theory and practice of feminist social change.  The Moxie Scholars this year are a great group of young women: Erin West, a sophomore Pyschology and  Women's & Gender Studies major from Asheville; Cara Schumann, a first-year English and Journalism major from Wilmington,NC; Brittany Desgages, a sophomore sociology major from Union Mills, NC; Sarah Pederson, a third-year, Public Policy/Anthropology major from Matthews NC; Elisabeth Jones, a junior political science and women's and gender studies double from Raleigh, NC; and Meg Foster, a junior History major from Oak Park, IL.

Interns Ready to Unveil Audio Walking Tour of UNC
As an intern for the SOHP this semester, I have had the pleasure of helping plan the SOHP's first-ever audio walking tour for the 40th Anniversary Celebration. This will be a 30-minute tour of campus, on which I and other interns will lead small groups to several sites and play clips of interviews related to the stops on the tour.  We have spent time this semester looking through the vast collection of interviews in the SOHP archives for materials related to the history of UNC. I have had the pleasure of choosing and editing together short excerpts from many different projects. My favorite clip on the tour is from the Pauli Murray interview, where Murray, who went on to be a famous attorney and activist, explains her rejection from UNC Law's School on the basis of her race. The clips we chose for the audio tour look at the University's past and the struggles of those who have fought for progress. I hope all of you will join us on our audio tour on April 4th to hear all of the insightful clips we have selected! 

--Aaron Hayworth, Program & Event Support Intern
SOHP on the Road
The Southern Oral History Program will be participating in two upcoming conferences.  On April 10 we will be hosting an oral history workshop at the Organization of American Historians conference in Atlanta.  According to organizers, this is the first time that the oral history workshop has been sold out!  

In June, Seth Kotch and Jaycie Vos of the SOHP and Laura Clark Brown and Virginia Ferris of the Southern Historical Collection will be traveling to Charleston to present at Data Driven: Digital Humanities in the Library. The panelists will address experimentation, collaboration, and core principles. They will discuss the current state of digital oral history practice, the development of a new metadata schema, implementation of the schema in-house, and methods to make the schema a national standard. The panel will demonstrate progress to date and will suggest implications for digital humanities research and the reimagining of digital scholarship. For more information about this conference, visit http://dhinthelibrary.wordpress.com/.

Jessie Wilkerson and Joey Fink, both recent SOHP field scholars and Ph.D. candidates in UNC-CH's History department, will be presenting papers based on SOHP interviews at the conference "A Revolutionary Moment: Women's Liberation in the Late 1960s and 1970s" in Boston, March 27-29. 
News from our Friends (send in yours!)

 

Thanks to Pamela Grundy for bringing to our attention the recent passing of Leroy "Pop" Wilson, a longtime Charlotte educator and key West Charlotte figure who passed away last week at the age of 94.  Pam interviewed him in 1998 and her interview was used in a Charlotte Oberserver article about Wilson's death, and also served a a source for Sonia Gantt's remarks at the funeral service.  As a result, several of Wilson's friends and relatives have been turning to the transcript of the article available online to learn more about his life.  You can access here the interview and read the Charlotte Observer article and 

an article with Gantt's remarks.

 


Former SOHP Field Scholar Jessie Wilkerson has accepted a position as assistant faculty in History and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi.  Congrats Jessie!

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Southern Oral History Program, Center for the Study of the American South, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, CB 9127,  410 E. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-9127