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Posted 09/17/2009

Hurricane Floyd was a Category 2 storm when it landed, bringing heavy rainfall and devastating flooding to eastern North Carolina. Although schools and businesses across the state closed in anticipation of the storm, North Carolinians were largely unprepared: evacuation procedures were not firmly in place, flood maps were out of date, lines of communication were jumbled, Tarboro, Princeville, Greenville, and many other smaller communities were flooded and suffered devastating damage. Thousands of homes were destroyed, millions of livestock drowned, and billions of dollars lost. Thirty-five residents lost their lives.

Oral Histories of the American South tells some of these stories of loss, but also of resilience and rebuilding. Our collection includes interviews with North Carolina residents who weathered the storm, from Penecostal minister Bert Pickett, who saw the flood as a trial of biblical proportions; to

Aaron and Jenny Cavenaugh, who saw their antiques business destroyed and lots tens of thousands of turkeys; to Thomas Samuel Hudson and Elberta Pugh-Hudson, who witnessed remarkable generosity in the flood’s aftermath.

You can listen to the interviews at the Environmental Transformations page at Oral Histories of the American South, the SOHP’s collaboration with Documenting the American South.

Stories of the American South uses some of these oral histories to tell Floyd’s story. Follow along here.