Since 1973, the Southern Oral History Program has worked to preserve the voices of the southern past. We have collected more than 5,000 interviews with people from all walks of life—from mill workers to civil rights leaders to future presidents of the United States. Made available through UNC’s renowned Southern Historical Collection online, these interviews capture the vivid personalities, poignant personal stories, and behind-the-scenes decision-making that bring history to life.
The Southern Oral History Program is extending our ongoing long civil rights movement research with work on the long women’s movement. Our fieldworkers have focused on east Tennessee, a rural region where poverty challenged black and white women to band together to pursue labor rights, reproductive health services, environmental cleanup, and economic justice. Read more at our research page.
This project, funded by a $130,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, explores the media environment in North Carolina as shaped by local voices. We are interviewing print journalists, broadcasters on television and radio, community activists and organizers, and others about how the media adapted to, changed, and reflected a new South during and after the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Read more at the project blog.
The Civil Rights History Project
The Civil Rights History Project is a joint undertaking of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and the American Folklife Center in the Library of Congress. Mandated by an Act of Congress in 2009, the project sought to inventory civil rights oral history collections around the country and then supplement those collections with a series of new interviews with civil rights veterans. The Southern Oral History Program was contracted to conduct those interviews, and we did, filming fifty interviews from Oakland, CA to New York City. We have begun a second phase group of fifty oral histories and will soon begin interviewing with a stellar team including historians John Dittmer, David Cline, Hasan Kwame Jeffries, and Will Griffin and filmmakers John Bishop and Petna Ndaliko.