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NCHC-SOHP Summer Teachers' Institutes (2001)
In her session, "Personal Approaches to Oral History," Kelly Navies performed a dramatic narrative of her oral history journey from Berkeley, California to Asheville, NC (with stops in Chicago and Washington, DC). The telling of this story involved Navies own poetry, family photographs, and interview excerpts.
Coordinated by SOHP associate Pamela Grundy in conjunction with the NCHC, the second Institute (June 2001) focussed on ways of conveying interpretations of late 20th century North Carolina history in the classroom, using oral history as a means of providing students with a sense of how their lives connect with the past. Drawing on the SOHP's "Listening for a Change: North Carolina Communities in Transition" initiative, the Institute helped teachers grapple with the challenge of interpreting history in the making, involving them in the exciting process of conducting, analyzing, and applying their own research using oral history interviews. The Institute examined major themes in North Carolina history since 1945, including the social and economic impact of World War II, desegregation and race relations, environmental issues, changes in agriculture and rural life, new immigrants, and evolving definitions of "community." The Teachers' Institute program culminated with the writing of thematic historical essays centered around the concept of a new North Carolina history, and with the development of a corresponding web site that will be accessible to all of the state's teachers.
Last summer's workshop, attended by 29 teachers representing 19 North Carolina school systems, was entitled "Voices of Democracy and Dissent," and focused on specific episodes in North Carolina's pre-World War II history. Topics included the role of slaves, free blacks, and poor whites in the antebellum era; events during the period of Emancipation and Reconstruction leading up to the Wilmington riot of 1898; and the transition from agriculture to industry in the early 20th century, including the impact of the Great Depression. All sessions explored the ways complex forces press for and against change.
In addition, the program introduced oral history as a method for understanding change in the state's more recent past, emphasizing the listening skills necessary to hear diverse voices. Lead faculty for the Institute included historians Reginald Hildebrand (UNC-CH), Lu Ann Jones (ECU), Sydney Nathans (Duke), and Peter Wood (Duke). The Institute was supplemented by a day-long follow-up workshop in January 2001, at which teachers shared results from curriculum enhancements, teacher workshops, and oral history projects designed through their participation in the Institute, and by the planning and development of curriculum materials for the teaching of a new North Carolina history.
The Southern Oral History Program
Center for the Study of the American South
Love House and Hutchins Forum
410 East Franklin St., CB# 9127, UNC-CH
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-9127