Southern Oral History Program

Courtesy of Jacquelyn Dowd Hall

Growing up in turn-of-the-century Georgia, the Lumpkin children were steeped in a culture of white supremacy. The older girls performed in rallies for “The Lost Cause,” while their father took a direct role in the Ku Klux Klan. But the two youngest Lumpkin sisters, Grace and Katharine, veered well off the path their family had set for them. They became activists and authors who railed against racial and economic oppression.

Illustrated graphic of Sonic South
Ginnie Hsu

The Southern Oral History Program is guided by the philosophy that “you don’t have to be famous for your life to be history.” Since 1973, it has collected 6,000 interviews that document the American South.

State of Things Managing Editor Anita Rao
Elie Gardner

It was a big year in North Carolina news. The man known to many as “America’s Pastor,” evangelist Billy Graham, passed away at the age of 99. Hurricane Florence tore through the state causing billions of dollars in damages, and protesters toppled the confederate Silent Sam statue on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 

Image for stories to save lives
Southern Oral History Program / Center for the Study of the American South

Cardiologist Dr. Ross Simpson has spent years studying premature sudden death. He investigates why people between the ages of 18-64 with no pre-existing conditions are dying in North Carolina. 

Courtesy of Sara Wood / Southern Mix

The Asian-American population in North Carolina has exploded in the past few decades. A 2016 study shows that from 2000-2010, the Asian-American population in the state grew by 85 percent, which was the third-fastest growth rate in the country. But who exactly makes up this growing population? What are their stories and traditions, and how are they changing the face of North Carolina?

photo of Kim Pevia
Courtesy of Women AdvaNCe

A record number of women are running for public office this year for positions ranging from state legislators to governors and members of Congress. Whether or not they will be elected still remains uncertain, but their attempts could counteract staggering statistics: for every one woman who holds office as a governor, member of congress or state legislator in the United States today, there are three men, according to analysis from The Washington Post.

Native Appropriations And New Media

Mar 31, 2015
Adrienne Keene is the Cherokee writer behind Native Appropriations.
Matika Wilbur

Washington's NFL team made headlines last year but not because of their record.

The name, offensive to many, became the subject of public debate. Native communities used social media to make their voices heard on the mascot debate and other important issues.

The Southern Oral History Program mapped oral histories with DH Press in their project Mapping the Long Women’s Movement.
RENCI

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed an easy-to-use website-building tool that puts previously complex digital programming into the hands of historians and researchers. The new tool, called the Digital Humanities Toolkit or DH Press, provides a way for historians, researchers, teachers and others to create interactive websites, virtual tours, data maps and multimedia archives with a WordPress platform. It also organizes data in more easily searchable and intuitive ways, such as mapping.  UNC-Chapel Hill’s Digital Innovation Lab (DIL) and its Renaissance Computing Institute (RENCI) collaborated on the new tool.

In the Jim Crow South, the black community faced frequent violence and intimidation. Today in our series Voices for Civil Rights, hosted by Eric Hodge, we hear stories of encounters with the Ku Klux Klan.

Seth Kotch shares excerpts of three oral histories conducted by the Southern Oral History Program at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Dr. Robert Hayling experiences sudden, horrific violence at a Klan rally in Florida.

In the third installment of our series Voices for Civil Rights, hosted by Eric Hodge, Seth Kotch shares excerpts of two oral histories conducted by the Southern Oral History Program at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Freeman Hrabowski describes a clash with his parents over joining the Civil Rights movement in Alabama, when he was just twelve years old.

The Southern Oral History Program at UNC-Chapel Hill has just completed work on a new collection of interviews about the civil rights movement. Over the last year and a half, oral historians traveled the country to document the experiences of lay-people and leaders from the movement.

This series is part of a joint project between the Smithsonian Institution and the Library of Congress. Seth Kotch coordinated the effort, and he's joining us each Friday to share some of what they found for a series we're calling Voices for Civil Rights.

Jamila Jones
UNC Southern Oral History History Program

When the Smithsonian opens its National Museum of African American History and Culture in 2015, part of its collection will be oral histories of the Civil Rights movement. The project began with an American Folklife Center survey of hundreds of existing oral history collections around the country before the Smithsonian set out to conduct new interviews with those who participated in the movement.

UNC System Turns 40

Nov 10, 2011

Only five people have ever been the president of the 16-campus UNC system. Tom Ross, Erskine Bowles, Molly Broad, C-D Spangler, and Bill Friday got together last night to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the creation of the UNC system. It was a night of shared experiences and behind-the-scenes stories. But, the best story of all may be how the system was created in the early 1970s.

Voices of SNCC

Apr 13, 2010

The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was founded at Shaw University in April of 1960. Hoping to harness the enthusiasm and willpower of young people to end segregation, founders Ella Baker, James Lawson and Julian Bond organized protests and actions across the south. SNCC was vital to the impact of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.