May 2014
This "word cloud" image was created by Field Scholar Katie Womble based on the script of the SOHP interns' oral history performance, "Out in the South: Gay and Lesbian Voices of Chapel Hill."
Field Notes
Stories from the Southern Oral History Program

Greetings from the Associate Director

Meetings have migrated to the front porch, there are fewer students around, and staff potluck lunches are must be summer!  The weather is lovely and the pace is definitely slower, but there's still plenty going on at the Southern Oral History Program.  We are thrilled to be partners on a new NEH grant for the New

 Roots Project, which will help us improve access to an immensely important collection of Latino oral histories.  We have four graduate field scholars out collecting interviews, several new volunteers are sharing their time and expertise with us, and the staff continues all the careful, creative, collaborative work that goes into making the SOHP great.


The meaningful nature of our work was brought home to me at the end of the semester by the interns' final performance.  After a semester of research and interviewing, the students presented "Out in the South: Gay and Lesbian Voices of Chapel Hill."  The audience was clearly moved by the power of sharing the combined stories of community and isolation, family and friends, loss and survival, and changing notions of identity.  I loved watching the undergraduates perform, as it revealed the depth of learning they underwent in both intellectual and personal ways, and the bonds of connection they developed with each other, with their interviewees, with the graduate students and who mentored them through the process, and with the idea of oral history itself.  


The summer brings with it one of my favorite programs, The Moxie Project: Women and Leadership for Social Change.  Having completed Michele Berger's spring semester class on Women of Color in U.S. Social Movements, the Moxie Scholars will start their internships in local women's organizations next week. Joey Fink, former SOHP field scholar, is teaching them the art and method of oral history, and she will help oversee their oral history interviews throughout the summer.  Christi Hurt, Director of the Carolina Women's Center and I will lead weekly discussion sessions, rotating between the internship sites and including their staffs in our conversations.  You'll hear more from us about it as the summer progresses!


If you are in Chapel Hill, do stop by to say hello.  

---  Rachel F. Seidman


Reflections on "Out in the South: Gay and Lesbian Voices of Chapel HIll"
Field Scholars Evan Faulkenbury and Katie Womble both found much to think about in the interns' research and presentation.  Read Evan's description of the process the students went through, and Katie's reflections on what she learned from the work the students did.  

Congratulations to Aaron Hayworth and Turner Henderson on graduating.  We hope to see them and Coco Wilder and Katie Crook back at the SOHP often!
NEH Awards Grant for New Roots Project on Latino Oral Histories
Mike Gallegos interviews his father, Rafael, about his journey from Michoac�n, M�xico to High Point, North Carolina.

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a grant of $240,000 to NEW ROOTS: Improving Global Access of Latino Oral Histories, a collaborative initiative of the Latino Migration Project, The Southern Oral History Program, and the University Libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


The New Roots Latino Oral History Initiative was established in 2007 to document demographic transformations in the U.S. South by collecting extraordinary stories of migration, settlement, and integration in North Carolina. The collection receives regular contributions of at least forty interviews annually from UNC scholars through an ongoing research program of the Latino Migration Project at the Institute for the Study of the Americas and the Center for Global Initiatives. Oral histories are archived with the Southern Oral History Program and their collections in the Southern Historical Collection in the University of Libraries of UNC Chapel Hill. The NEH grant, which is awarded from the NEH Humanities Collections and Reference Resources division, will make the New Roots collection accessible to new regional, national and global public constituencies, particularly within Spanish-speaking Latino and Latin American communities. Activities will include the creation of a visually engaging bilingual website for public audiences and people who have contributed their stories; a digital catalogue and finding aids in English and Spanish; an interactive portal for teachers to share lesson plans; and a dissemination plan with Latino communities, K-16 educators, national and international oral history networks, and Mexican universities in the origin states of migrants living in North Carolina. The project will be based at UNC Chapel Hill and carried out over the course of three years.


"The New Roots project will provide wider access to this record of the many changes affecting North Carolina. The bilingual features of the project are especially noteworthy in expanding access and will be a model for similar projects to making oral histories at UNC more discoverable to a wider audience," said Richard Szary, Director of the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library and Associate University Librarian for Special Collections.



"Useful Work" exhibit features SOHP Interviews
North Carolina County Photographic Collection #P0001, North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, Wilson Library, UNC

This summer, the Center for the Study of the American South is opening "Useful Work," a photographic exhibit by Ken Abbott. The photographs feature the idyllic Sherrill's Inn and Hickory Nut Gap Farm, located in Fairview, North Carolina, near Asheville. The inn and farm were purchased in 1916 by Jim and Elizabeth McClure and has since been run by five generations of the family. In addition to producing organic fruits and vegetables and grassfed beef and pastured pork and poultry, the family also runs a summer camp.


The Southern Oral History Program is contributing to this exhibit with audio of interviews from two of our projects--Women's Leadership and Grassroots Activism and Mountain Voices. One special interview is with Annie Ager, a descendent of the McClures who has worked on the farm for decades and currently runs the Hickory Nut Gap Farm Camp. You can listen to her voice and more in our Useful Work playlist. We will also be featuring photographs from the Bayard Morgan Wootten Photographic Collection in the Digital North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives.


To celebrate the opening of this exhibit and the farm family, join us at the Center for an artist's reception on Friday, May 30th at 5:30 pm. There will be food from the farm and music provided by family musicians.  


For more information about the exhibit and event, visit the Center's website


Meet Michael Grathwohl, Summer Volunteer

We are delighted to welcome several fresh faces to SOHP this summer, and we'll be introducing them over the next couple of months.  Below is a short bio from our great new volunteer, Michael.


I'm a senior English major at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, interested in 19th century American literature as well as literature and the environment. I was born and raised in Chapel Hill and have an interest in the town's history as it relates to that of North Carolina and the South, so I am very much looking forward to working with the SOHP this summer! When I'm not working or reading my hobbies include taking long walks on the beach, running, playing bluegrass guitar, and eating at Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen terrifyingly often. 

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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