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Archive for September, 2013

The Dream of Many – Remembering the Civil Rights Movement through Theater and Oral History

Ashley Templeton – Undergraduate Initiatives Intern ‘13

Layla Quran – Archives Intern ‘13

With the passing of the 50 “I Have A Dream” speech on August 28 some have found ways to commemorate the man, the dream, and the fight for civil rights in the 1960s. Playmakers Repertory Company is presenting a poignant play called “The Mountaintop”,  until October 6th that brings the audience into Martin Luther King Jr.’s hotel room at the Lorraine Motel the night before he was assassinated. It portrays a raw look at Dr. King’s last day and last thoughts in a captivating way, showing the darker introspection that may have accompanied the icon as worked for civil rights and justice.

The tickets are $15 and the play will be performed in the Paul Green Theater in UNC’s Department for Dramatic Art on Country Club

Martin Luther King, Jr

Martin Luther King, Jr

Road. For more information on play times and ticket purchase, please visit www.playmakersrep.org. This is a great opportunity to engage with this important time in history on campus right now, as it gives a new voice to a man whose public voice has been remembered and celebrated. To hear a host of less public voices from the Civil Rights Era of the 1960s, please click below to hear the real voices and stories of people who fought for the same dream of equality. Though they may not have been great orators or known on a national level, they too spent their lives contributing to the Civil Rights Movement – Oral history has helped document these peoples’ experiences so that their stories can be shared with people like you, and for generations to come.

People like Mr. Kenneth Adams, about the Savannah Herald, his family’s newspapers and what it was like growing up black in Savannah, Georgia.

http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/sohp/id/15819/rec/1

Or Ms Margorie Amos-Frazier who was an African American female politician in Charleston, South Carolina.

http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/sohp/id/5782/rec/1

And Ms Sandra Babb, who grew up on a farm in a small segregated town in Pitt County. In the interview, Babb talks about wanting better form life, and deciding to begin college at UNC-Chapel hill.

http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/sohp/id/17442/rec/5

Know of any other ways UNC-CH has remembered the Civil Rights Movement this year? Please share in the comments!

The State of the state

One of the responsibilities and privileges I have as an intern here at the SOHP is to search through the over 5,000 interviews available on the interview database for relevant and interesting pieces to share. I have listened to interviews on topics ranging from leaders in women’s rights to the history of UNC to gay and lesbian activists in Chapel Hill. I have grown frustrated with the past policies of the state and country but have grown equally as inspired by the brilliant and determined individuals who demanded better and acted on that demand.

Scholars for NC Future Panel

Jacquelyn Hall of the SOHP was a panelist at last week’s event hosted by the Scholars for North Carolina’s Future

Just in the past several months, there have been many proposed and passed changes in voting rights laws in North Carolina-many of which will arguably make it more difficult for people-especially young people, to vote. Effective in 2016, no student ID will be accepted to vote, and only photo IDs will be allowed. This is one of many laws affecting health, women’s rights, education, and the environment in NC. The Forward Together Movement that spun out of the Moral Monday rallies at the General Assembly showed a North Carolina unwilling to settle for nothing less than true democracy. Just like the stories of the Civil Rights movement have inspired others to act in the face of injustice, I have no doubt the stories shared through Moral Mondays will one day inspire and teach a new generation of concerned citizens.

There’s a lot we can learn just by listening. And I began my work here with a desire to understand how to fix the present by learning from those who were brave enough to tell stories about their past.

People like Alice Ballance, a native North Carolinian and major force behind community engagement towards voting and antipoverty programming since the 1950s:

“We started our voter registration drives teaching people how to vote and we finally got some black folks that would run for something, you know. And we got them elected. And then in turn they would turn around and help the other black poor folks. And that’s the way that we got started and getting some help for the People’s Program on Poverty.”

I went to a panel discussion the other day on Moral Mondays and what recent legislations means for the state of NC. Jacquelyn Hall, founder of the SOHP and a history professor here at UNC was a panelist at the event. During her time to speak, she mentioned the powerful nature of oral history to tell alternative stories of how the lives of real people are being affected on a daily basis. In an era where the media no longer has the resources or staff to fully analyze life and often resorts to stating what happened rather than why and how it will affect citizens, oral history is an avenue for the voices of real people to be heard.