Skip to content

Expand students’ understanding of NC’s cultural history through this “African Americans in Appalachia” lesson, Grade 8

When deciding on the topic of for her lesson plan, 2017 Carolina Oral History Teaching Fellow Jesse Wharton sought to fill in some major gaps she saw in how her students understood their own community. Wharton teaches 7th and 8th grade at Evergreen Community Charter School in the Appalachian city of Asheville, North Carolina. Many—even most North Carolinians—picture the region’s inhabitants as impoverished, “folk,” and, most specifically, white. However, Wharton believes that students should learn about all of those who make up the rich culture and history of Appalachia, including the oft-forgotten African-American community. Her lesson on “Affrilachia,” a term created by black Appalachian poet Frank X. Walter, explores the Appalachian African-American community’s cultural influences and day to day lives.

Wharton filled her lesson with rich primary source material for students to learn from and analyze. She dug deep into the SOHP’s archives to find voices from African Americans living in the North Carolina mountains who could tell their own stories about their communities. Among these voices are Appalachian homemaker and caretaker Geraldine Ray, civil rights activist and pastor Dr. Thomas Kilgore, and Federal Judge Richard Erwin.

But these are not the only auditory components of this lesson. Students also hear from the all-black bluegrass band the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a performance of a poem by Frank X Walker, Poet Laureate of Kentucky, and other Affrilachian artists. Through these myriad voices, Wharton gets students to consider the value of oral history and music as historical documents, to learn about how those in Affrilachia contributed to the broader civil rights movement in the South, and, ultimately, to reflect on the culminating question of the lesson: “In what ways are African Americans crucial to the history and culture of Appalachia?”

Download the lesson plan and PowerPoint for this lesson to use in your classroom.

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

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. 

Apply for the 2018 Carolina K-12 Teaching Fellows Program

SOHP, in collaboration with Carolina K-12, is excited to announce and solicit applications for its second summer of the Carolina Oral History Teaching Fellows in Civil Rights.


Registration Still Open: The Black Communities Conference will Inspire Future-Oriented Collaborations


The SOHP is one of the sponsors of the upcoming 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. According to the website, “by creating new collaborations, the conference will help to document, safeguard and enhance the life of these communities.”

Screen shot of Black communities Conference title page, includes date and description

Black Communities Conference co-chair Dr. Mark Little, Executive Director of UNC’s Kenan Institute and Director of NCGrowth, says conference attendees can expect a spirit that is “practical, optimistic, forward-thinking” throughout the gathering. Taking place April 23-25, 2018 in Durham NC, it will foreground success stories and is structured to inspire new collaborations. Little and his co-chair, Dr. Karla Slocum, UNC Associate Professor of Anthropology and Director of Institute of African American Research, hope attendees will emerge with new relationships that lead to programs and research to improve the life of Black communities. Registration is still open and  travel and registration scholarships are available for those attending but not presenting.

Little hopes much more than traditional conference-style teaching and learning will happen at BCC. “If that is all that happens,” he says, “It will not have been a success. Instead, we hope people leave with new connections that are directly relevant to their lives and work.” The format of the conference reflects this desire; morning sessions focus on “absorbing” new information and will include panels and presentations, while afternoon sessions provide opportunities for dialogue and will include workshops, working group discussions and community tours.

Screenshot of part of the conference schedule

The conference comes at a time of heightened interest and attention to Black communities, though Little points out that conference topics have been relevant for many decades. Little and Slocum expected to get 80-100 proposals, but instead received 300. Half of the presentations will be by community members and half by scholars, and include presenters who hail from all around North America, including Canada and Mexico. The three-day jam-packed conference agenda includes presentations by elected officials, scholars from a variety of disciplines, and community activists and educators. Attendees can enjoy panels, workshops, tours, film screenings and performances on a variety of topics, from education to cultural tourism, Black elected officials, police accountability, and more.

The conference builds on a 2015 convening of historically Black towns and settlements and the work of the Historic Black Towns and Settlements Alliance (HBTSA) since that time. “This conference is open to a much larger group [than the 2015 gathering],” Little explains. “Members of the HBTSA will also attend this conference, plus it will also include leaders from other urban communities and neighborhoods that emerged as a result of the Great Migration and are also geographically defined, as well as Black communities that are not geographically defined.”

About the origins of the conference, Little explains, “We originally wanted to create a clearinghouse where scholars and community leaders could find each other to work on collaborative efforts. We decided on a conference format, and it has now blossomed to be much more than that original vision. Not only will scholars and community members be able to network with each other — people within each of these groups will be able to network amongst each other around areas of shared interest.”

To register and find out more about travel funding, click here:


Staff Pick: Bringing History to Life in the Classroom

Abigail Nover, an SOHP field scholar, is a graduate student in folklore. Her MA thesis is a music-based interactive web application for fourth grade classrooms, designed to supplement the NC Common Core Social Studies Standards for teaching North Carolina’s history and cultural heritage.

The history textbooks I read in middle and high school were not particularly memorable. What I do vividly remember from social studies and history classes, however, are the guest speakers who visited, the interviews we listened to, the documentaries we watched, and the debates we had as a class. Those moments most likely stick out in my mind because the history in the textbook that seemed distant and detached became personal and immediate through hearing and discussing peoples’ firsthand experiences. Now, as I focus on K-12 educational materials in my graduate studies and as a field scholar here at the SOHP, I am excited by the incredible potential of oral history to bring history to life in the classroom.

Last summer, the SOHP partnered with Carolina K-12 to host The Carolina Oral History Teaching Fellows program. Middle and high school teachers from across North Carolina gathered here at UNC-Chapel Hill for a three-day seminar, which focused on oral history and the Civil Rights Movement. The teachers then returned home, worked on creating lesson plans using oral history clips from our archive, and several weeks later, returned to Chapel Hill to share their work with one another.

The lesson plans that resulted from the program creatively delve into complex topics relating to the Civil Rights Movement like voting rights, education, and disenfranchisement, just to name a few. Each lesson weaves multiple voices together in oral history-based classroom activities, providing students with the opportunity to examine primary sources, evaluate historical events from diverse perspectives, and extend their critical thinking. Oral history as a pedagogical tool is unique in its ability to convey the impact of historical events on personal and community levels, garnering deeper understanding and empathy among student listeners.

I have been working with Christie Norris, the Director of K-12 Outreach for the NC Civic Education Consortium, to edit the lesson plans and make them available to teachers as a free resources online via the SOHP’s and Carolina K-12’s websites. As I read through the lessons and listened to the accompanying interview clips over the past weeks, I was absorbed by the materials. Listening to Pauli Murray, for example, describe her many trailblazing accomplishments, I was floored by her persistence and powerful outlook on civil rights and citizenship as well as how little I had known about her previously. It is easy to become engrossed in listening to someone tell their story, and I am excited for students to experience the lessons I have been reading in the classroom. These lessons will be memorable, I am sure.

Several weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend the North Carolina Council for the Social Studies’ annual conference in Greensboro where I was able to broaden my understanding of social studies instruction. In the sessions I attended, I heard educators describe the challenges and triumphs of engaging students in current events and history, helping students to understand multiple perspectives on key issues, integrate research techniques and primary sources into classroom activities, and work towards public engagement projects. It was incredible to hear teachers share their innovations. As I listened, I recognized many facets of the lesson plans I had edited. I am honored to support teachers as they share their ideas and work towards integrating oral history into their lesson plans.

Find more information about the Carolina Oral History Teaching Fellows program, and access the lesson plans here. You can also listen to the clips features in the material by visiting the SoundCloud playlist.

Staff Pick: Dr. Claude Barnes

This spring, the SOHP staff is selecting interviews from the archive that celebrate or challenge the practice of oral history, and serve as teachable moments. SOHP field scholar Isabell Moore is a PhD student in UNC’s Department of History. She found her interview, and the lessons it brought forth, by sheer accident.

I recently stumbled on an interview with Dr. Claude Barnes, a black leader from Greensboro, North Carolina, my hometown and the place I now live. What I heard brought up illuminating and uncomfortable questions about the practices of oral history in our current moment.

It started when I was asked to search for stories in SOHP’s archive about University of North Carolina’s Morehead Planetarium. I expected to find stories of stargazing and celestial events. Instead, I came across an interview with Dr. Claude Barnes, a well-known civil rights and black power activist and professor in Greensboro. Reading about his cohort of activists in the 1960s and 1970s as an undergraduate in New York in the late-1990s was part of what inspired me to move home to North Carolina. For almost fifteen years, I have been in and out of social justice meetings and events with Dr. Barnes. The story he told about the planetarium (click to hear the audio) had nothing to do with shooting stars.

Morehead Planetarium at UNC. Image courtesy of

Claude Barnes: And I’ll tell you this incident, too. I’m going to write this up one of these days. I was in third grade, and I’ll never forget it. We went to Chapel Hill, to the Planetarium, to see an Easter show. All right? I’m in third grade—Ms. Gregg’s third grade class. And I’m a little third grader. But anyway, in the middle of the program, I had to use the boy’s room. So I ran out, straight into what I considered to be the bathroom. I didn’t take time to look and understand there was a colored bathroom and a white bathroom. So I went in the white bathroom by mistake—I didn’t mean it, though. They stopped the show, put us back on the bus. I got a beating by my third grade teacher with a rick-rack. I got a beating when I got home. And I still feel bad about that, [laughter]

Angela Hornsby: So someone found that you were in the wrong bathroom?

Claude Barnes: Mmm-hmm, yeah. I was drug out of there.

Angela Hornsby: Oh, Lord. Who drug you out?

Claude Barnes: One of the officials. Some other person was in the bathroom, said “There’s a black kid in there,” or something. And they stopped the show. They literally pulled the plug on the show. The lights came on; everybody was mad at me. [laughter] But that’s the absurdity of that. Anyway, that incident stuck in my mind from the third grade. I guess that might have something to do with why I was so rebellious as time went on.

Dr. Claude Barnes. Photo courtesy of Carolina Peacemaker.

Hearing Dr. Barnes’ story brought together many threads from what I am learning as a field scholar at the SOHP, in UNC’s oral history course (History 670) with Joey Fink (a former SOHP field scholar), and in a digital history course at UNC Greensboro with Anne Whisnant.

The interview with Dr. Barnes was conducted by Angela Hornsby in 2002. It’s part of the SOHP project, Remembering Black Main Streets. Hornsby’s questions focus on Dr. Barnes’ life growing up in Greensboro, and his memories of East Market Street, the road that runs through the historically African American area of Greensboro.  Dr. Barnes’ story about a field trip to the planetarium in Chapel Hill surfaced when Hornsby asked about his childhood.

Oral history practice often stimulates the recall of memories that may not be on topic, and add to our understanding of the past in unexpected ways. Interviews often reveal meanings that we cannot glean from visiting the place itself. Dr. Barnes began with, “I’m going to write this up one of these days.” Most of us have those urges about significant moments in our lives, but few of us actually find the time to write down those stories. Oral history makes sure these recollections are not lost to history.

Dr. Barnes’ words teach us about the quotidienne system of racial segregation: Dr. Barnes’ use of the “whites only” bathroom was treated as an emergency. A presumably white official dragged him out. Black school children could be in the planetarium’s seats but not in the bathroom. Dr. Barnes’ teachers and parents punished him and in the process participated in enforcing segregation, surely out of a desire to keep him safe in the future. Dr. Barnes understood this incident as a root of his own willingness to stand up to power. Through the interview and archival practices of oral history, we can access and learn from Dr. Barnes’ memories.

Aside from what we can learn from the story itself, Dr. Barnes’ interview and the way I came across it raise issues that oral historians grapple with in the digital age.

As Michael Frisch discusses in his essay “From A Shared Authority to the Digital Kitchen, and Back,” in Letting Go?: Sharing Historical Authority in a User-Generated World, the increasing digital searchability of oral history audio and transcripts creates opportunities but also potential problems.

Had I pulled out this one story from the much longer interview, I would be left only with information about the oppression and abuse that young black people suffered under segregation. In the rest of the interview, Dr. Barnes discusses his efforts as a high school then college and post-college activist, his involvement with the Greensboro Association of Poor People (GAPP) (click to hear the audio), and the ways their activism won better housing, wages and influence in city government.

Claude Barnes: But GAPP is the key. And GAPP not only organized around redevelopment. It was the cafeteria workers, the blind workers. Skilled-craft blind workers, they called a boycott at Christmas one year. Because the blind workers—I think they were making something like two dollars an hour or less than that, I can’t remember. It was just some horrible wage. And their working conditions were terrible—we’re talking about blind people. So we organized a strike in behalf of the blind workers and boycotted Christmas one year. And won them a lot of concessions. And so successes like that fueled other successes. There were rent strikes, I remember. GAPP organized one of the longest rent strikes in the history of Greensboro against a big slumlord. Kay Agapion, Triple A Realty. Big slum lord in Greensboro—houses all over the place. I think we took people out on strike for about six months or something like that. And were successful in improving their living conditions, improving the housing conditions, and enforcing some regulations, and that kind of thing.

And we had built this coalition between the A&T students, Dudley students, and Greensboro residents especially. It was a broad coalition, and it was a multi-class coalition. Because there were blacks from the middle upper, and blacks from the lower lower. Now they didn’t agree on everything, but there were lots of issues that people did agree on. Now redevelopment was one of the issues that they did not agree on. But some of these other things I just mentioned to you—like the Cafeteria Workers’ Strike– [Tape ends].

Dr. Barnes understands his own life experience as shaped by both empowerment and collective action, on the one hand, and oppression on the other.  A search for key terms in the transcript could encourage us to examine a few minutes of tape or a few stansas of transcript outside of the context of the rest of the interview.  Examining only these moments of the interview would give us quite a different view.

The interview with Dr. Barnes raises additional questions oral historians often grapple with: Dr. Barnes laughs numerous times while telling the story about the Planetarium. What can we make of this? What is the role of affect in oral history? How should we ethically interpret and assign meaning to displays of emotion? Yes, Dr. Barnes freely shared his personal and painful story in an oral history interview he knew would  be archived. However, is there a voyeuristic element to listening to stories like these, especially if they are used for the learning of white scholars like myself? Are Dr. Barnes’ current collaborators in Greensboro aware of this interview?  How might his interview — from the planetarium incident to his retelling of decades of activism — be useful to campus and community activists engaged with racial and economic justice today?  Are we doing enough to make the stories in our archives available beyond the academy? How can those of us engaged in oral history ethically think about how to use interviews in ways that are helpful in our present moment?

Whenever I pass Morehead Planetarium as I walk through campus, I will now think about Dr. Barnes’ story. And after listening to and reflecting on his interview, I will approach the practice of oral history interviewing and archiving with new questions and concerns.

Dr. Barnes was interviewed by Angela Hornsby in 2002 for the SOHP Project, Remember Black Main Streets. His 2014 oral history recorded by B. Bernetiae Reed is part of the project, Moral Mondays and Community Activism, 2014-2015.  He asked us to include his contact information: and

Staff Pick: Ruth Dial Woods

SOHP intern Blake Hite.

We’ve asked the SOHP staff to select an interview from the archive that celebrates or challenges the practice of oral history, along with interviews that serve as teachable moments. This week SOHP intern Blake Hite shares his reflections on Dr. Ruth Dial Woods’s interview from 1992. 

In his book, The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative, Dr. Thomas King says that “once you hear a story, you can never un-hear it.” Growing up, I was always told stories about my family and my people, the Lumbee, so that I would know myself as an individual. One of my favorite stories is how my family left the Cherokee Nation a few years after Indian Territory became Oklahoma, and about the struggles they faced before they ended up in Robeson County, North Carolina. This story makes me proud of who I am as a person and my people. Stories are very powerful in shaping people’s identity but they are also very influential in initiating change in society, and that is what Dr. Ruth Dial Woods hoped she would be able to do.

Woods was a member of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, and the Director of Indian Education. She was also a professor at Fayetteville State University. Throughout her life, she held multiple titles and positions where she was able to influence the next generation. She was heavily involved in the Civil Rights and feminist movements and their purpose: to ensure that she leaves behind a world that is better than the one she experienced. She wants to make sure that Native people are represented in all sectors of society, and she believes that by telling stories, individuals can profoundly affect society.

From her interviews, Woods wants us to know what it is like to be a Native woman and the obstacles that she faced and how she overcame them. She wants us to know why she had to lie on her marriage license, saying that she was white and not Native. She wants us to know how her people, the Lumbee, were discriminated against by whites in Robeson County and how Natives are disadvantaged when they apply to colleges, and the difficulties they face trying to afford attendance. Woods wants us to know what it is like to be a Native person who comes from a tribe that avoided Removal, and what being “Indian” means to her. Most of all, she wants us to know how she “made off the reservation,” and how she succeeded in a Non-Native world.

Stories are very powerful. They can alter the lives of individuals and help in changing society. Dr. Woods started the change but it is up to us to finish what she began and take up the Mantle of Responsibility, and share our own stories.

Woods’ oral history interview was conducted in 1992 by Anne Mitchell Coe and Laura Jane Moore for SOHP’s University of North Carolina: Individual Biographies project, focusing on notable North Carolinians connected to UNC.