October 2014
Celebrating Jacquelyn Dowd Hall at her retirement party in September. 
Field Notes
Stories from the Southern Oral History Program

Director's Note

Staff, students, and friends of SOHP recently gathered at the 2014 Oral History Association (OHA) annual meeting in Madison, Wisconsin. I felt all the satisfaction, inspiration, and exhaustion that a great conference brings. OHA is a unique meeting--it is a refreshing combination of presentations about historical findings, project workflows, archival tools, teaching methods, engagement strategies, artistic work, and ethical issues. The conference touches on every aspect of oral history work in every setting (communities, universities and schools of all sizes and shapes, non-profit organizations and corporations). It reminds us that regardless of our specialty, all of us have a role to play in moving our field forward, and that, as Seth Kotch, late of the SOHP, stated during the panel presentation he shared with our Coordinator of Collections Jaycie Vos and NC State Library Fellow Virginia Ferris, "oral history is not over when the interview is done. That would just be an interview."


We had recently seen many of our alums and friends at the Symposium and Celebration for Jacquelyn Dowd Hall here at UNC, but reconnecting with so many of the SOHP family involved in planning the OHA conference was a particular thrill. Current and former staff and students of SOHP belonged to (or chaired!) the Program Committee, gave over a dozen presentations, and were members of the OHA executive leadership as well. Associate Director Rachel Seidman shared the stage with Founding Director Jacquelyn Dowd Hall and two other noted historians for a thought-provoking plenary session, "Academics as Activists," which SOHP sponsored. Former Outreach Coordinator Beth Millwood's smile was pleasantly ubiquitous, as she chaired both a panel and OHA's International Committee. The conference also featured the documentary film I co-produced, Private Violence, right on time for our nation's current and extensive discussion of domestic violence. The film features DV victim advocate Kit Gruelle, who was interviewed by SOHP in 2013 as part of the Moxie Project. Jaycie also presented on the physical and digital exhibit she curated for our 40th anniversary. Two of our graduate students, Rob Shapard and Sarah McNamara, gave papers on their research, and UNC Professor Hannah Gill, who directs the New Roots project on Latino migrants to North Carolina, also gave a compelling presentation. The conference was also a great opportunity to connect with our collaborators at Duke's Center for Documentary Studies and the University of Mississippi, and regenerate relationships with colleagues from all over the country. Oral history offers a window into the world that is unlike any other field; it is a method and a discipline that helps us imagine a future, using both the past and present to incubate our ideas and connect to each other in new ways.


The variety was stunning. If you want a glimpse yourself, check out the Storify presentation that Jaycie created for OHA. It was a pleasure and honor for me to witness how our SOHP community continues to lead the field in every respect, and how we are embracing every opportunity to learn and advance our work. 


--Malinda Maynor Lowery


Celebration of SOHP Founder Jacquelyn Hall Great Success!
Students of Jacquelyn Dowd Hall gathered to celebrate her legacy and
impact on their lives.

After a year of planning and preparation, the Symposium and Celebration in honor of Jacquelyn Dowd Hall's retirement came off without a hitch.  The intellectual richness and emotional resonance of the day's events were a tribute to Jacquelyn as well as to the dedication of her former students and the SOHP staff who wanted to pay appropriate tribute to her profound influence on the field of history and on individual lives.  Former students participated in four panels during the day, in which they explored Jacquelyn's impact on their own approach to research.  We will highlight some of these presentations in the coming weeks; the first is Johannah Schoen's "Twenty Things I Learned from Jackie Hall."  At the evening reception, we featured four new videos about the SOHP.  And we announced the creation of the brand new Jacquelyn Dowd Hall Summer Research Fellowship.  To learn more about this important new initiative which will support graduate student summer research and to make your own gift to the fund, please click here.
New Interviews with LGBTQ Activists Available Online 
UNC undergraduate Aaron Lovett completed an independent research project supported by the Pine Tree Fund and the Office for Undergraduate Research in collaboration with the SOHP.  His seven interviews with LGBTQ activists in the Triangle are now available online here.  

Aaron's study traced the development of queer activism from social organizing in the early 1970s, to the beginning of statewide lobbying and political activism in the early '90s, and to recent developments in North Carolina regarding pro-LGBTQ laws such as the NC School Violence Prevention Act and anti-LGBTQ legislation such as Amendment One. LGBTQ activists interviewed included feminist theorist Alexis Pauline Gumbs, HIV/AIDS advocate Carolyn McAllaster, LGBTQ lobbyist Ian Palmquist, and openly-gay clergyman Rev. Carlton Rutherford. The project connected local and statewide LGBTQ events with regional and national trends, analyzed the nature of the Triangle area's LGBTQ community in relation to rest of the South, and documented changes and continuities in local LGBTQ life and culture. A particular theme that Aaron explored is the prevalence of traditional Southern institutions, practices, and cultural norms that have been integrated into the LGBTQ community.  According to Aaron, Christianity, for example, is still prominent within the Triangle area LGBTQ community, evident in the popularity of local queer-friendly churches. He found that "patriarchy and white supremacy influence the LGBTQ community, with white queer men often occupying positions of greater social privilege than queer women and queer people of color."
Meet the Communications Interns
Rachel Worsham and David Farrow are SOHP communications interns for Fall 2014
Meet the SOHP's newest undergraduate communications interns, David Farrow and Rachel Worsham. David lived in Charlotte before coming to UNC to study public policy and history. Outside of academics, he serves as Co-President of the Carolina Association of Parliamentary Debate and coaches Congressional Debate at Cary Academy. Rachel hails from Charlotte as well and majors in history and Peace, War, and Defense with a minor in Public Relations. Rachel enjoys watching the Food Network and spending time outdoors.  

In addition to their daily website maintenance duties, these two have been hard at work creating a podcast examining "rebellion" among women and African-American students at UNC. The podcast will feature the stories of Sharon Rose Powell, student chairwoman of the Women's Residence Council who rallied students against UNC's in loco parentis policies, and Ashley Davis, a Black Student Movement member who helped organize food workers for the 1969 Food Workers Strike. The interns are very excited about this project, and hope it will encourage listeners to take a closer look at the history of UNC and the people who have made it such a wonderful place.

NC Women's Summit Draws Over 200 from around State; Features SOHP Interviews as Inspiration

The 2nd Annual North Carolina Women's Summit, co-sponsored by the SOHP and Women AdvaNCe, brought over 200 women from around the state to hear panels on women's health, women and the economy, and public education.  SOHP Associate Director Rachel Seidman shared some inspiring quotes from women activists that were found by SOHP interns relating to each panel's topic.  Attendees received social media training and advice on starting their own "Advance teams" to organize in their communities.  Women signed "pledge to vote cards" (pictured above) and shared their own pressing concerns.  You can watch video of the event and see pictures.  

Apply Now to be a Moxie Scholar for 2015!

Want to combine oral history research, study of women's activism, and hands-on work in a local women's organization? Apply to be a Moxie Scholar! 

Want to listen to the interviews that Moxie Scholars completed last summer with local women activists?   Listen here to numbers U-1048 through U-1062.


From George Wallace to New Orleans After Katrina: Southern Race and Politics on Film

The SOHP and CSAS are sponsoring an event in November featuring history, race, and politics in documentary film, and noted guests, including historian Dan T Carter and filmmakers Paul Stekler and Lana Garland. 

November 18, 4:30 pm
The Freedom Forum, UNC School of Journalism

We'd appreciate you adding this event to your calendars, forwarding the announcement to your contacts, offering your students extra credit, and attending! 

Jesse Jackson and George Wallace, circa 1984

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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