Meet the SOHP
Renée Alexander Craft
Acting Director and Associate Professor, Department of Communication and Curriculum in Global Studies
North Carolina native Renée Alexander Craft earned a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in Communication Studies from UNC Chapel Hill and a Ph.D. in Performance Studies from Northwestern University. For the past fifteen years, her research and creative projects have centered on an Afro-Latin community located in the small coastal town of Portobelo, Panama who call themselves and their carnival performance tradition “Congo.” She has completed both a manuscript and digital humanities project, which reflect this focus. The first is an ethnographic monograph titled When the Devil Knocks: The Congo Tradition and the Politics of Blackness in 20th Century Panama (The Ohio State University Press, January 2015). The second project, titled Digital Portobelo: Art + Scholarship + Cultural Preservation, is an interactive online collection of ethnographic interviews, photos, videos, artwork, and archival material that illuminate the rich culture and history of Portobelo, Panama. Digital Portobelo was initiated through an inaugural 2013-2014 UNC Digital Innovations Lab/Institute for the Arts and Humanities Fellowship. Like her broader research and teaching, each project engages the relationship among colorism, nationalism, nationality, language, gender, sexuality, class, history, religion, and region in discourses of black inclusion, exclusion, representation, and belonging. In addition to the Portobelo-focused projects, Professor Alexander Craft received a Durham Arts Council Ella Pratt Emerging Artist Fellowship in 2013 for I Will Love You Everywhere Always, a children’s book dedicated to helping children cope with death and loss. Visit Renée’s website here.
Malinda Maynor Lowery
Director and Associate Professor, Department of History
Professor Lowery is a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina. Her book, Lumbee Indians in the Jim Crow South: Race, Identity, and the Making of a Nation (UNC Press, 2010), received the 2011 Labriola American Indian Center National Book Award, presented by Arizona State University, and Best 2010 First Book from the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. She has produced four documentary films about Native American issues, including the award-winning In the Light of Reverence, which aired on PBS in 2001 to over three million people. Two previous films, Real Indian and Sounds of Faith, examine Lumbee identity and culture, and the most recent is an online video for Native survivors of domestic violence featuring the Lumbee and Eastern Band Cherokee tribes (www.survivortosurvivor.org). Her current book project is a history of the Lumbee tribe for a general audience, forthcoming from the University of North Carolina Press.
Rachel F. Seidman
Rachel is a U.S. historian specializing in women’s history. With a B.A. from Oberlin College and a Ph.D. from Yale, Seidman is particularly interested in connecting history to current concerns through civic engagement and community-based research. The author of The Civil War: A History in Documents (Oxford University Press) and several scholarly articles about women in the Civil War, Rachel was previously the Associate Director of the History, Public Policy and Social Change program at Duke University. At Duke she founded and co-directed The Moxie Project: Women and Leadership for Social Change, and directed the Poverty, Ethics and Policy Lab. She continues to work on projects related to women’s activism and poverty in North Carolina at the SOHP.
Coordinator of Collections
Jaycie is an archivist specializing in digital projects and oral history collections. While completing her M.S.L.S. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she worked for the SOHP as an archival processor and assisted with outreach efforts and various digital initiatives. Her research focuses on archival description and metadata standards in oral history collections as well as usability and accessibility in digital collections.
Administrative Support Associate
Rachel is a recent UNC graduate (B.A. History and B.S. Psychology, 2013) helping to coordinate administrative, communications, and research tasks at SOHP. She also serves as Assistant Editor of Southern Cultures. Her undergraduate work focused on U.S. History with a minor in Sexuality Studies. She is currently applying to graduate programs in school psychology.
Jacquelyn Dowd Hall
Founder and Senior Research Fellow
Professor Hall’s research interests include U.S. women’s history, southern history, working-class history, oral history, and cultural/intellectual history. She served as president of the Organization of American Historians in 2003-04 and of the Southern Historical Association in 2001-02. She was also the founding president of the Labor and Working Class History Association. She was awarded a National Humanities Medal in 1999 for her efforts to deepen the nation’s understanding of and engagement with the humanities, and in 1997, she received UNC’s Distinguished Teaching Award for graduate teaching. Her publications include Revolt Against Chivalry: Jessie Daniel Ames and the Women’s Campaign Against Lynching (1979, 1993) and Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World (1987, 2000), which she co-authored with James Leloudis, Robert Korstad, Mary Murphy, Lu Ann Jones, and Chris Daly. She is currently working on a collection of her articles and on two book projects: Writing a Way Home, about women writers and intellectuals and the refashioning of regional identity in the twentieth-century South; and a study of the social movements spawned by the civil rights campaigns of the 1960s and of the ideological, political, and structural factors that blunted their force.
- Gabrielle A. Berlinger, Assistant Professor of American Studies, UNC Chapel Hill
- Charles Bolton, Head, Department of History, UNC Greensboro
- William Chafe, Alice Mary Baldwin Professor of History, Emeritus Duke University
- Kat Mellen Charron, Associate Professor of History, North Carolina State University
- Julie Davis, Postdoctoral Scholar in American Studies and Digital Innovation Lab Project Director, UNC Chapel Hill
- Marcie Cohen Ferris, Associate Professor of American Studies, UNC Chapel Hill
- Benjamin Filene, Director and Associate Professor of Public History, UNC Greensboro
- Bryan Giemza, Director of the Southern Historical Collection, UNC Chapel Hill
- Seth Kotch, Assistant Professor of American Studies, UNC Chapel Hill
- Lisa Levenstein, Associate Professor of History, UNC Greensboro
- Raúl Necochea, Assistant Professor of Social Medicine, UNC Chapel Hill
- Louis A. Pérez, Jr., J. Carlyle Sitterson Professor of History, UNC Chapel Hill
- Ryan Shaw, Assistant Professor, School of Information and Library Science, UNC Chapel Hill
For more information about our Faculty Affiliate program, click here.
Taylor is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at UNC. She received her BS in Anthropology from the College of Charleston. Her dissertation research examines the intersections of race, class, and gender in the South through the lens of motherhood. Specifically, she researches why and how African American women choose (or choose not) to breastfeed, with particular interest to if and how southern history influences a woman’s infant feeding decisions and practices. Currently at the SOHP, Taylor coordinates the undergraduate intern program.
Evan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at UNC Chapel Hill. His research focuses on the role of philanthropy in the southern civil rights movement during the 1960s and 1970s. At the SOHP, Evan leads workshops on oral history methodology. He also interviews conservative women about their various forms of activism as part of the SOHP’s ongoing project on the Long Women’s Movement.
Kimber Thomas is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of American Studies at UNC Chapel Hill. She received her bachelor’s degree in English from Alcorn State University and her master’s degree in Afro-American Studies from UCLA. She previously worked as an oral historian for Jackson State University’s Margaret Walker Center, where she documented the Farish Street historic district, and for the Southern Foodways Alliance, where she documented black-owned restaurants in Jackson, MS. Her research interests include southern black material culture and oral history. At the SOHP, Kimber conducts interviews for the Back Ways project, which seeks to foster better understandings of race and segregation in rural parts of the American South.
Alex Ford is a senior from Kernersville, North Carolina. She is a Middle Grades Education major with minors in History and Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE). Alex is excited to consider how oral history can be influential in making history a more accessible and captivating subject for students, and also looks forward to learning about what it was like to be part of the first cohort of African American graduates from UNC.
Devin Holman is a Junior at UNC Chapel Hill. She is a History and Political Science double-major with an Education minor. From Durham, North Carolina, Devin is passionate about understanding the historical evolution of schooling, particularly in the American South, and understanding how that past shapes the present day. She hopes to increase her understanding of this topic by speaking directly to those who have experienced and shaped important events that have impacted education in North Carolina.
Monique Laborde is a UNC junior majoring in Women’s and Gender Studies and minoring in African American and Diaspora Studies. She is also receiving a certificate in Documentary Studies from Duke’s Center for Documentary Studies. Monique is academically and personally committed to understanding the histories and changing futures of the American South. She is currently working to found the Duke-UNC Story Exchange.
Destinie Pittman is a sophomore from Rose Hill, NC. She is majoring in Public Policy with a minor in African American and Diaspora Studies. Her work at the Marian Cheek Jackson Center and passion for social justice have furthered her interest in the art of oral history. Destinie is prepared to gain significant insight of larger social systems through the lives of individuals.
Former members of the SOHP have gone on to do great things.
Interim Director, 2011-13 and Professor, Department of Communication Studies
Professor Pollock (Ph.D., Northwestern University) specializes in performance and cultural studies and has written extensively on the intersections between oral history and performance. As she wrote in her 2005 book, Remembering: Oral History and Performance, oral historians, performers, and performance scholars are “increasingly discovering shared and complementary investments in orality, dialogue, life stories, and community building, or what more generally might be called living history.” Such living history thrives in Professor Pollock’s work with the Marian Cheek Jackson Center for Making and Saving History, an organization dedicated to using oral history to strengthen and maintain community tradition in Chapel Hill. She is pictured (second from the right) here with fellow participants in UNC’s Burch Honors Seminar, which she co-led in Kenya.
Assistant Professor of History and Director, Citadel Oral History Program
Kerry is a specialist in 20th-Century American civil rights and labor history. He conducted scores of interviews for the SOHP during the years he spent as a research assistant before becoming its Associate Director in 2007. He has written on labor activism in Detroit, rural activism in North Carolina, the folklorist Archie Green, and many other subjects. His interviews for the SOHP included many in the Remembering Black Main Streets series which investigated the impact of desegregation on black businesses in places like Birmingham and Memphis. Kerry left the SOHP to join the faculty at The Citadel, where he now serves as director of the Citadel Oral History Program. Visit the COHP here.
Assistant Professor and Associate Director, Center for Oral and Public History
Cal State Fullerton
Natalie is an oral historian and historian of women’s history, grassroots politics, and civil rights who received her Ph.D. from UNC in 2000. She has written on women’s activism and child care, Vietname War dissent, and the experience of oral history. After graduating from UNC, Natalie became the Associate Director of the Center for Oral and Public History at Cal State Fullerton where, in addition to other projects, she has led and oral history project that aims to capture the recollections of World War II and Korean War veterans stationed at the El Toro Marine Corps Air Station. Learn more about the Center here.
Director, National Museum of American History
Brent received his Ph.D. here at Carolina in 1980. While a student here, he conducted numerous interviews for the SOHP, including a number of interviews with North Carolina millworkers that ended up in the groundbreaking book Like a Family. Brent went on to lead the North Carolina Humanities Council and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission before taking the directorship of the National Museum of American History. In 2008, he accepted a portrait of Stephen Colbert to join the museum’s collection.
Kevin D. Gorter Professor of Public Policy and History and Senior Fellow, Kenan Institute for Ethics
Bob, who specializes in twentieth-century labor history, African American history, and public policy, joined a number of SOHP colleagues to contribute to Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World. He is the author of numerous books and articles, most recently To Right These Wrongs: The North Carolina Fund and the Battle to End Poverty and Inequality in 1960s America, co-authored with James Leloudis. The book draws on interviews in the SOHP collection by Korstad and Leloudis and is tied to the SOHP’s Long Civil Rights Movement collaboration between the SOHP and partners around Carolina.
Professor of History, Associate Dean for Honors, and Director, James M. Johnston Center for Undergraduate Excellence
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Jim, a specialist on the modern American South with particular interest in race, reform, education, and labor, worked with the SOHP on the pathbreaking Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World. He is also the author of Schooling the New South:Pedagogy, Self, and Society in North Carolina, 1880-1920, and To Right These Wrongs: The North Carolina Fund and the Battle to End Poverty and Inequality in 1960s America(co-authored with fellow SOHP affiliate Robert Korstad). Leloudis’s work on poverty is part of a collaborative initiative on the Long Civil Rights Movement with UNC Press, the UNC Libraries, the Center for Civil Rights and the Southern Oral History Program.
Associate Professor of History & Faculty Chair of the Ramsey Center for Regional Studies
Mars Hill College
Kathy, who earned her Ph.D. at Carolina in 2001, specializes in U.S. History, where she has broad interests in environmental history, women’s history, regional studies, and oral history. She led the “Environmentalism, Forests, and Communities” portion of the Listening for a Change initiative, and has continued to pursue her interest in environmental history at Mars Hill. Her work in the Southern Appalachian Archives in the college’s Ramsey Center for Regional Studies recently earned a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
David S. Cecelski
David, an independent historian and an expert on the history of North Carolina, joined the SOHP in its Listening for a Change initiative, He is the author of many books, including Along Freedom Road: Hyde County, NC, and the Fate of Black Schools in the South and most recently, Democracy Betrayed: The Wilmington Race Riot of 1898 and Its Legacy. His many interviews in the SOHP collection include oral histories with Mabel Williams, wife of the civil rights activist Robert Williams, Ben Avirett, who brings his family together over his old-fashioned Brunswick stew, and Harry and Sarah Kittner, who describe Jewish life in North Carolina.
Clifford M. Kuhn
Georgia State University
Cliff, a specialist in 20th-Century southern history, received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1993. He worked for the SOHP in 1977 and in 1980, served as Acting Co-Director. He is the author of numerous books and articles, including Contesting the New South Order: The 1914-1915 Strike at Atlanta’s Fulton Mills. Among the many interviews Cliff has contributed to our collection include oral histories with millworkers Josephine Glenn, who witnessed huge changes in mill work during her decades in the industry,James Pharis, who rose to leadership positions on the mill floor and in his union, and Emma Whitesell, who began a lifetime of mill work at age twelve.
Since receiving her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Kathy has worked with Duke University and more recently, with LEARN NC, developing materials for professional development on a range of topics in United States and North Carolina history. While at the SOHP, Kathy conducted numerous interviews, including many with female teachers and mill workers, and led many a community oral history workshop.
Sonoma State University
Steve is a historian of civil rights, labor, race relations, and sexuality in the United States. He is the author of I Am a Man! Race, Manhood, and the Civil Rights Movement, Ask and Tell: Gay and Lesbian Veterans Speak Out, and numerous other books and articles. While working as a project coordinator at the SOHP, Steve conducted a number of interviews with notable North Carolinians and members of the Carolina community.
University of San Francisco
Kathy served as Acting Director of the SOHP in 1993 and 1994. She is the author of Everybody’s Grandmother and Nobody’s Fool: Frances Freeborn Pauley and the Struggle for Social Justice.
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of History
Co-Director, Oral History Center
University of Louisville
Tracy, who was active at the Southern Oral History Program while she worked toward her doctorate here at Carolina, is author of numerous books and articles drawing on oral histories, from Civil Rights in the Gateway to the South: Lousiville, Kentucky, 1945-1980 to Interracialism and Christian Community in the Postwar South: The Story of Koinonia Farm. As Co-Director of the University of Louisville’s Oral History Center, Tracy is working on two oral history projects, one on desegregation in Louisville and another on the American Friends Service Committee on Race, Poverty, and Housing. Oral history interviews she conducted while at Carolina include one with the owners of the Barnum Funeral Home, a site for civil rights organizing in Sumter County, GA.
A folklorist and oral historian, while at the SOHP Alicia co-coordinated three “Listening for a Change Projects,” one examining new immigrants and neigborhood change in Durham, NC; also in Durham, a life review with HIV patients; and another on prison inmates in Anson County, NC. Alicia co-authored “I Was Content and Not Content”: The Story of Linda Lord and the Closing of Penobscot Poultry.
While at the SOHP, Pam coordinated the “Listening for a Change” project that documented race and desegregation at West Charlotte High School, using what she gathered to curate an exhibit on the subject at the Museum of the New South. Pam has authored many books and articles, including Shattering the Glass: The Remarkable History of Women’s Basketball.
Assistant Professor of History
Virginia Tech University
A former Associate Director and Acting Director of the SOHP, David is Assistant Professor in the History Department at Virginia Tech. His research focuses on 20th century U.S. social movements, oral history, and public history. He has a particular interest in the roles of religious progressives in social movements, including the civil rights and women’s movement. His public history work has included museum exhibits, contributions to radio and film documentaries, large-scale oral history projects with the Library of Congress and others, and a 2005 project to document the Cherokee Trail of Tears. David is the author of Creating Choice: A Community Responds to the Need for Abortion and Birth Control, 1961-1973 and was a recipient of the National Council on Public History’s New Professional Award in 2004.