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Stories to Save Lives Project featured on WRAL

SOHP’s most recent research project was featured in a story on WRAL which you can read here.

Spring 2019 Undergraduate Internships

The deadline for applications is Friday, November 9, 2018 at 5PM EST. For more information and to submit an application, visit our Undergraduate Internships page.

The internship program provides experiential education in the intellectual, organizational, and practical work of oral history. Interns will work collaboratively on a research project focused the centennial of the 19th amendment, the multifaceted political and social impact of women’s suffrage, and how women across racial, class, and regional categories interact with electoral politics today. Interns will learn to conduct interviews and engage with the practice of oral history; assist with ongoing SOHP projects; collection management, digital exhibits, and public engagement; and participation in a weekly seminar that deepens academic understanding of oral history.

Four interns are accepted into the program and enroll in History 593: Exploring the US South Hands On and Ears Open: Internship at the Southern Oral History. Interns work a total of twelve hours per week (five hours of organizational work, five hours on the research project, and two hours of seminar). They will earn three hours of internship credit through the requirements of their home departments.

Questions can be submitted to Sara Wood: swood@unc.edu.

Meet Our 2018 Fall Interns

Now with the new academic year in full swing, we are excited to introduce the interns working with us for the fall semester. They are pictured here with SOHP Project Manager, Sara Wood, who leads the weekly intern seminar.

Mitra Norowzi, Sara Wood, Caroline Taheri, Ellie Little

Mitra Norowzi is a junior from Raleigh, North Carolina who is studying journalism and Southern studies. Aside from working with us at the SOHP, she is also in her third year of working as an editorial assistant for our friends down the hall, the award-winning quarterly publication Southern Cultures. Mitra brings her desire to combine traditional news reporting and oral history to tell honest, diverse stories of the American South to her work here at the SOHP.

Caroline Taheri is a senior from Fairfax, Virginia who is studying psychology and minoring in medical anthropology. This past summer Caroline interned on Capitol Hill where she attended hearings and briefings and learned more about the legislative process. She brings her interest in health disparities, community outreach, and ethnographic research to her work at the SOHP. Caroline hopes to go on and earn a Masters of Public Health after graduation.

Ellie Little is a junior from Greensboro, North Carolina who is studying advertising and American Studies with a minor in Hispanic studies. She is interested in studying the role of media in how public school students receive and interpret stories. Outside of academics, she is the Vice President of the UNC Women’s Rugby Football Club.

Tell About the South: Stories to Save Lives

Anna Freeman, Ina Dixon, and Nicholas Allen conducted interviews over the summer as summer researchers for the Stories to Saves Lives Project. This project is focused on collecting oral history interviews in rural counties in North Carolina to understand perceptions and experiences of health, illness, and medical care. They will present their work through the Center for the Study of the American South‘s lunchtime conversation series, Tell About the South, on November 7 at 12:30 pm at the Love House and Hutchins Forum (410 E. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC).

The event is free and open to the public and light refreshments will be served. RSVPs to csas@unc.edu will be appreciated but are not required. The SOHP and the Center are located along free Chapel Hill Transit bus routes A, CL, D, F, NU, and U.

Tell About the South: Southern Mix

Tell About the South is a lunchtime series put on by the Center for the Study of the American South that features presentations from faculty, senior graduate students, and community members that focus on southern scholarship and specialized knowledge of regional topics. On October 17 at 12:30 pm this conversation will be provided by Southern Mix founder Anna-Rhesa Versola and undergraduate researcher Emmanuel Lee as they discuss their research and interviews collected over the summer with members of the Hmong and Filipino communities in Hickory, NC.

Southern Mix was inspired by Asian American UNC alumni, and focuses on collecting oral histories from Asian and Asian American residents of the Triangle, of North Carolina, and of the larger region of the South. For this project, the SOHP is collaborating with the Carolina Asia Center and the Alumni Committee for Racial and Ethnic Diversity to gather these personal biographies. This project will include a wide range of stories of escape, immigration, and cultural assimilation.

This event will take place at the Love House and Hutchins Forum where SOHP and CSAS are housed (410 E. Franklin Street, Chapel Hill, NC) and is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served. RSVPs to csas@unc.edu will be appreciated but are not required. Our Center is located along free Chapel Hill Transit bus routes A, CL, D, F, NU, and U.

The finalists of our Sonic South audio competition

Innovative and archival are not two words you regularly hear together, but with the sound experiments and powerful audio stories presented in our inaugural Sonic South audio experience, that was exactly the genre of the evening. While the sky had darkened to produce a drizzly and blustery evening, this made the Studio at CURRENT where we gathered for the Sonic South only more intimate and created a perfect atmosphere to sit down, settle in, and listen.

Held on May 10th, the live-listening event was a chance to listen to the five works selected from our Sonic South audio competition. For this contest, we invited audio producers of all levels to engage with our interview archive in a new way by asking them to create short stories (three to five minutes) focusing in the theme of persistence—as the artist interprets for themselves—and using the voices of Southern women.

The five finalists were selected by judges Malinda Maynor Lowery, director for the Center for the Study of the American South and former SOHP director; John Biewen, audio program director at the Center for Documentary Studies and host of the Center’s audio documentary podcast, Scene on the Radio; and Leoneda Inge,  WUNC’s Race and Southern Culture reporter, who also served as our host for the evening.

Below you can listen to the five pieces selected and their respective producers.


1964–Do Something! by Rebekah Smith

How do you get around a law intended to end segregation? You declare that your establishment is a private club and hope that those pesky protesters give up and go home. 1964 – Do Something! blends two interviews that were done as part of the 50th Anniversary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) that took place in 2010 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  It tells the story of how businesses and even state entities tried to get around the Public Accommodations Act by declaring themselves to be “private clubs.” As such, they would be exempt from the new law that said that service could not be denied based on race, color, religion, or national origin. SNCC members protested at the Arkansas State Capitol cafeteria where blacks were refused service.

 

Ms. Smith and Ms. Brooks of the Pine Room, Pt. I by Rebekah Smith

This audio montage combines images from four different interviews and gives an impression of some of the issues that surrounded the 1969 Food Workers’ Strike at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We meet the leaders of the strike, Ms. Mary Smith and Ms. Elizabeth Brooks, as the women repeatedly try to get the attention of management that makes promises they never keep. The two persist until they are granted a very simple request.

Rebekah Smith is the creator of QuOTeD – The Question of the Day Podcast – where she makes audio montages using stories that are sparked by a single question.  For twenty-five years she has been interviewing regular people using this “one good question” method where conversations emerge naturally.  In addition to being a platform for sharing her work, the podcast has inspired events that put people in the same room to talk.


Lead with What We Have by Sydney Lopez

Lead with What We Have intends to illustrate the intersectional experience of Southern women’s persistence. Kim Pevia’s story in particular highlights how female strength has evolved and grown through generations of Lumbee women.

Sydney Lopez is a sophomore at UNC originally from Boca Raton, Florida. She is double majoring in exercise and sports science and sociology. She found a love for oral history’s bottom-up approach in Dr. Rachel Seidman’s class her first year at Carolina. Since then, she has developed her audio editing skills through a summer internship at the SOHP where she co-produced an audio documentary and digital exhibit exploring the UNC Foodworkers’ Strikes of 1969.

Listen to Sydney Lopez’s commentary on her piece here:


Beyond Me by Spivey Knapik
Is persistence a series of self-directed actions or is it a response of openness to something bigger passing through you? This piece explores the liminal space of creation asking what it means both for an individual and for the concept of “art” to persist through a spectrum of time and place.

Spivey Knapik is an artist, independent producer, and native Floridian currently living and working in Des Moines, Iowa. She is interested in stories, death, and identity.

Listen to her commentary on her piece here:


Untitled by Jen Nathan Orris (Winner of the 2018 Sonic South Competition)
Reverend Sophia East speaks about the realities of being a woman of color in the South during the 1970s. The Georgia Sea Island Singers sing “Let Me Fly” in a 1960 recording as Reverend East describes her daily struggles and hopes for a more equitable future.

Jen Nathan Orris is an audio producer and writer based in Asheville, North Carolina. She studied at the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies and has worked as a reporter and audio producer for fifteen years. Her work has aired on the BBC and NPR, as well as WFAE and WUNC in North Carolina. She is also the editor of Edible Asheville magazine and produces a podcast for the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project called Growing Local.

Listen to her commentary on her piece here:

These works remind us not only of the many histories and stories that each person holds inside of them, but the importance of preserving those stories as they provide us information to understand where we are, where we came from, and even provide insight as to how to be the people, communities, and society we want to become. When gathered together to listen to these stories collectively, it is undeniable that history echoes.

We are currently developing the competition and live listening room for The Sonic South 2019. Stay tuned for more information!

UNC Humanities for the Public Good Initiative awards SOHP $10,000

UNC’s new Humanities for the Public Good Initiative has awarded SOHP $10,000 from the Critical Issues Project Fund for Stories to Save Lives: Using Oral History to Improve Health and Medical Care in North Carolina.

 

Learn more about this award and its impact on our blog and at the Humanities for the Public Good Initiative.

UNC Humanities for the Public Good Initiative awards SOHP $10,000

We are thrilled to announce that UNC’s new Humanities for the Public Good Initiative has awarded SOHP $10,000 from the Critical Issues Project Fund for Stories to Save Lives: Using Oral History to Improve Health and Medical Care in North Carolina.

This award will help fund our pilot summer of research, providing summer research grants for undergraduate and graduate students to travel to Warrenton and Dunn, North Carolina to gather forty interviews focused on residents’ attitudes and beliefs about the health care system, their analyses of why health care challenges exist in their own communities, and how that has changed over time.

In Warrenton we are partnering with Reverend William Kearney, Associate Minister & Health Ministry Coordinator at Coley Springs Missionary Baptist Church in Warrenton, NC and President of United Shiloh Missionary Baptist Association Church Union, Warrenton, NC.  He is an active volunteer in community activities and a community organizer, who has worked extensively with UNC’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention and has consulted across the state and nationally.

In Dunn, we are partnering with Lisa McKeithan, MS, CRC, Director of the Positive Life Program & NC Reach at CommWell Health. CommWell Health, formerly Tri-County Community Health Center, started in 1977 as a health clinic for migrant farm workers, and focuses on holistic, innovative approaches to health care in rural North Carolina.

Staff Pick: Kathrine Robinson Everett

SOHP intern Kimberly Oliver is a junior undergraduate student double majoring in History and Anthropology and minoring in American Indian and Indigenous Studies. Originally from Greensboro, North Carolina, she grew up visiting endless museums and historic sites, developing a love of history that she now plans to turn into a career in public history. 

As a history major, I am well acquainted with the issue of representation and the incompleteness of the historical record. Oral history has proven to be an important tool in filling silences for one of my recent projects.

This semester I am conducting an extensive research project into the suffrage movement at North Carolina’s State Normal and Industrial School (what would later become the University of North Carolina at Greensboro). This college, founded in 1891 as an institution to train North Carolina’s women to be public school teachers, became a place where young women learned how to be leaders. Teaching and advocacy for the interests of public schools provided an entrance into political and public life, and lead naturally to students demanding participation in those spheres by being able to vote. While researching a movement built on the idea of creating a space for women’s voices to be heard, I knew it was imperative that my project be centered on the voices of students, and oral history provided this gateway.

Several interviews with graduates of the Normal School can be found in the SOHP archives, and I found two interviews with Kathrine Robinson Everett to be particularly compelling. Everett graduated from the Normal School in 1913, before attending Columbia University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In the 1920s she became one of the first women to graduate from UNC’s law school, and went on to have a successful career as a lawyer and local politician. Everett’s life was notable for what interviewer Pamela Dean describes as its “unusual route,” yet she doesn’t think of herself as a pioneer. She says “You just do what comes and what you believe in. You don’t stop and think whether you are a pioneer … I had several firsts but they were just because I happened to be there at the right time.” Reading about Everett’s accomplishments on their own, it would easy for a historian to automatically assign the label of “pioneer” to her and to imagine that she thought of herself as a trailblazer for other women. Yet, doing so is imposing one’s interpretation of a person’s experience onto their history. Oral history allows Everett to share her own story and give an accurate portrayal of how she interprets the retrospect meaning of her experience.

In a project investigating a movement resulting from the demands of women that their voices be heard, oral histories allow these women to continue to speak for themselves. This field acknowledges the agency of a wider group of historical actors in a way that written sources often cannot. Kathrine Everett noted that the Normal School “nurtured independent thought” in its students, and using oral histories allows my research to capture those independent thoughts of students, both in content and in methodology.

Two of Kathrine Robinson Everett’s oral history interviews are archived in the SOHP’s Notable North Carolinians project. They were conducted in 1985 and 1986 by Pamela Dean.

Black Communities Conference

The SOHP is one of the sponsors of the Black Communities Conference which will take place in Durham April 23-25th, 2018. The multi-disciplinary conference will connect academic researchers and Black Communities across North America.