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In our pilot episode we discuss silence and power in oral history. Can oral history teach us to be better listeners? Can we learn how to pay attention–not just to what is being said, but to what isn’t? We’ll talk with Southern Oral History Program founding Director Jacquelyn Dowd Hall about a 1974 interview with Katherine DuPre Lumpkin that is shot through with silences; you’ll get tips on how to handle it a question you ask leads to a long silence; and we’ll hear clips from our collection in which three different women talk about the relationship between silence and their own activism.

You can currently listen to Episode 1 through SoundCloud, and as of December 14th, we’re on iTunes! We’ll make it available on other podcast services soon; stay tuned.


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Stay tuned for our next episode coming in February 2016 on the SOHP’s Back Ways project about segregation in the rural South.

Jacquelyn Hall interviewing Katherine Lumpkin in 1974
Jacquelyn Hall interviewing Katherine Lumpkin in 1974
Grace Lumpkin before the House Un-American Activities Committee
Grace Lumpkin before the House Un-American Activities Committee

Supplemental Materials

To hear the entire interview between Jacquelyn Dowd Hall and Rachel F. Seidman, listen below:


To read Jacquelyn Hall’s article mentioned in the podcast, here is the full citation: Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, “Open Secrets: Memory, Imagination, and the Refashioning of Southern Identity,” American Quarterly 50, no. 1 (March 1998): 109-124.

Listen to the full interviews excerpted in the podcast: Ann HurstMattie JonesSuzanne Pharr

To listen to and watch Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s full speech from April 1967, click here.


Episode Archive:

Episode 1: Silence Speaks Volumes

Episode 2: Back Ways

Episode 3: Feminism and Oral History

Episode 4: LGBTQ Southern Oral History and Activism

Episode 5: Pet Sounds

Episode 6: Sweet Emotion

Episode 7: Oral History for Movement Building

Episode 8: Voices From Charlotte

Episode 9: Veterans and Oral History

Episode 10: Women and Politics in the South

Episode 11: Oral History and the ERA

Episode 12: Revisiting “Back Ways”

Episode 13: New Roots/ Nuevas Raíces