January 2015

Field Notes
Stories from the Southern Oral History Program

Director's Note

Happy New Year from the Southern Oral History Program! After a holiday season with our families, we return to the Love House to nurture our professional relationships and the "families" that support the SOHP through networking, fundraising, and outreach efforts. In the spirit of celebrating Jacquelyn Hall's legacy and four decades of the SOHP, we have created a listserv for Jacquelyn's former students, to help them stay in touch with each other. If you are one of her students and you haven't received the invitation to join, please email sohp@unc.edu. One of SOHP's cornerstones is teaching, and with Jacquelyn as our founder and role model, we are happy to help maintain that family. Thank you, Jacquelyn, for your inspiration!


We are also growing our family of donors; people gave and pledged generously in 2014 to our unrestricted fund, to a fund to support undergraduate research, and to the Jacquelyn Dowd Hall Summer Research Fellowship for graduate students. We have raised over $45,000 in gifts and pledges in 2014 from fifty donors. Garnering this kind of support requires the assistance of many people across the Center and the College of Arts and Sciences, including CSAS Director Kenneth Janken and Associate Director Pat Horn; our Senior Associate Dean, Terry Rhodes; IAH Development Director Allison Smith; and especially Ishna Hall and Mark Newman at the Arts and Sciences Foundation. We are so grateful for all of SOHP's supporters.


Many thanks to the people below who generously gave to the SOHP in 2014; we hope even more of you will join this part of our family in 2015!


--Malinda Maynor Lowery


Stephen Marc Appell

Althea Bragg

Dan T. Carter

Jefferson R. Cowie 

Shannon Crupi

Marie Danforth

Joshua C. Davis

Jennifer M. Donnally

Nora Doyle

Emma C. Edmunds

Laura F. Edwards

Stephen S. Estes

Bill and Marcie Ferris

Lee W. Formwalt

Natalie M. Fousekis

Mr. Neal Gardner Smith

Glenda E. Gilmore

Amy S. Glass & Peter Geoffrion

Brent D. Glass

Harlan Gradin and Elise Goldwasser

Elizabeth Gritter

Pamela C. Grundy

Mary Hendrickson

Nancy Hewitt

Elizabeth Myatt Holsten

Lynn M. Hudson

Tera W. Hunter

Kenneth T. Jackson

Lu Ann Jones

Robert Korstad and Jacquelyn Hall

Lloyd S. Kramer & Gwynne Pomeroy

Thomas W. and Donna Lambeth

Steven F. Lawson

James & Diane Leloudis

Helen Lyerly

Mrs. John L. McCain

Elizabeth A. Millwood & John Lawton

Fetzer Mills

Richard D. and Julie T. Mooney

Cecelia D. Moore and William T. Schneider

Mary T. Murphy

Sydney H. Nathans

Dann L. and Kathryn D. Newfont

Bill Pfefferkorn

Della Pollock

Gwynne Pomeroy

Charles Plambeck

Jennifer L. Ritterhouse

Blain Roberts

Christopher Bernard Rodning

James Boyle Rogers

Anne F. Scott

Bryant E. Simon

Anastatia Sims

Neal G. Smith

Stuart Solomon

Hope Spencer

Landon Storrs

J. E. Sutton

Kieran W. Taylor

Karen K. Thomas

Martha S. Thrasher

Michael Trotti

James Watson

Derek Williams

J. D. Williams

New Courses Integrate Teaching, Research, Engagement
Jacquelyn Hall's 1978 Intro to Oral History syllabus

Pedagogy has long been central to the mission and activities of the Southern Oral History Program. We continue to build on the legacy of the Oral History Seminar, and find new ways to reach students across campus. Oral history pedagogy demonstrates the deep integration of research, teaching and engagement that undergirds all the work of the SOHP.


Malinda Maynor Lowery is teaching the oral history seminar this semester for the first time. The course will draw its focus from one of our ongoing research initiatives, The Rural South. With assistance from Darius Scott, one of SOHP's Field Scholars who will serve as the Graduate Research Coordinator for the class, students will conduct oral history research projects related to the social, economic or political life of the rural south. They will learn to design their own oral history project, conduct and transcribe oral history interviews, interpret oral history evidence, assess that evidence in relationship to published and archival records, and use and contribute to a university-based oral history program. Moreover, students will be working on new ways to present oral histories using digital humanities tools. This process will demand and strengthen a wide range of skills: active listening, close reading, analytic thinking, self-awareness, and teamwork. Beyond that, it will ask students to develop responsible, respectful, and mutually productive relationships with people both inside and outside the campus, and to conduct their work in such a way that it will be of value to other scholars and to the people who share their stories with us. 


Associate Director Rachel Seidman is teaching a new course, Oral History and Women's Activism in the South. In this class, students study the art and method of oral history interviewing as well as gain an overview of women's activism in the region since suffrage. An Apples Service Learning Course for which Seidman received a Ueltschli Family grant, the class also requires students to work thirty hours in a local women's organization during the semester. For their final project, students will be working in groups to produce podcasts, creatively and analytically integrating their classroom learning, oral history research, and experiential education. This class serves as the gateway course for The Moxie Project.

Finally, we have two students participating in the brand new SOHP Practicum. In this new initiative, students who have already taken an oral history class get credit for working at SOHP on in-depth oral history research projects. Kiever Hunter and Jackson Turner, both seniors, will be exploring their own research projects under the direction of Seidman and SOHP Field Scholars Taylor Livingston and Evan Faulkenbury. 



Meet the Spring 2015 SOHP Interns
Clockwise from top left: Liz Kennedy, Bryan Smith, Samantha Gregg, Holly Plouff

Say hello to our 2015 Spring interns!


One of our favorite pedagogical initiatives at the SOHP is our internship program. Each semester through a selective application process we choose four impressive undergraduates who receive academic credit for working at the SOHP, learning about oral history methods, undertaking a group research project, and providing important service to the program.  


Samantha Gregg is a senior from Tarboro, North Carolina. She is a History and English double major with a historical focus on Non-Western civilizations. When she's not studying, Samantha can be found splashing around with the Women's Water Polo team.


Liz Kennedy is a sophomore from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Liz commutes here from Duke University, where she is a History major with intended minors in Environmental Sciences and Women's studies, with a certificate in documentary studies. Among her many talents, Liz can play three instruments.


Holly Plouff (who pulled together much of this information for us) is a first year from Winston-Salem, North Carolina. She is an Anthropology major with a possible minor in History or Creative Writing. Holly's love for understanding people and culture is what made her pursue this work and she really hopes to better understand the American South and the stories that make it as rich as it is. Holly likes to spend her time reading, being with friends, or exploring outside. 


Bryan Smith is a senior from Mooresville, North Carolina. Bryan is a Linguistics and Women's and Gender Studies major. His passion for language and feminist history made him interested in oral history and he hopes to perfect his interview strategies and deepen his understanding. In his free time, you can find Bryan studying languages, writing, or simply playing games--"any type of game imaginable."


A special thank you to Field Scholar Taylor Livingston for supervising interns and teaching their oral history seminar.  Please help us welcome these great young people to SOHP; we look forward to sharing their research and endeavors with you in the coming months.


Remembering Martin Luther King, Jr.
Our new interns have jumped into their new roles with enthusiasm. In honor of Martin Luther King's birthday this week, Samantha Gregg and Liz Kennedy mined our archives for clips from oral histories that commented on King's life and influence. Communications intern Bryan Smith wrote the following reflection on these interviews:

A friend remarked to me yesterday, on the 32nd observance of the holiday, that King's birthday wasn't celebrated except in terms of government and school closures. Furthermore, they didn't know how MLK day should be observed. In my opinion, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the opportunity to recognize all people who have spoken out, fought, and marched against racial inequality and injustice in America and around the world. 

In this 2012 interview with activist Twan Robinson, Robinson recalls how her mother marched into her school to demand that the resistant administration recognize the holiday and not punish those who observed it.  

The holiday is also an opportunity to reflect, recharge, and look ahead to overcoming the obstacles still caused by racism. In this interview, Cynthia Brown talks about where she finds her motivation to continue the struggle. 

Of course, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is also an opportunity to remember the man himself. In this excerpt, Cleveland Sellers remembers him as both a man and a symbol of hope.

At SOHP, we hope to promote this spirit of remembrance and continued work for justice not only on MLK day, but every day.
Dr. King's Speech in Front of U.N.," April 15th, 1967. This photo also comes from the Benedict J. Fernandez "Countdown to Eternity" portfolio (copyright: Benedict J. Fernandez)

Jacquelyn Hall Wins Roger E. Ambrose Award 
The Living History Society at Rutgers University has awarded the 2015 Stephen E. Ambrose Oral History Award to Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, Founding Director of the Southern Oral History Program and Julia Spruill Professor Emerita at UNC. The award annually honors an individual who has significantly contributed to the field and practice of oral history. Past recipients have included Tom Brokaw (2005), Steven Spielberg (2006), Studs Terkel (2007), Rick Atkinson (2008), Ken Burns (2009), David Isay (2010), Elizabeth and Michael Norman (2011), Isabel Wilkerson (2012), Michael Beschloss (2013), and Peter Bergen (2014).
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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