Listening to History: A North Carolina Mosaic

Race and Desegregation: West Charlotte High School

Race and Desegregation: Asheville's Stephens-Lee High School

Tobacco, History, and Memory: Storytelling and Cultural Grieving in Eastern North Carolina

Environmentalism: Forests and Communities in Western North Carolina

New Immigrants and Labor: The Case Farms Strike in Morganton

New Immigrants and Neighborhood Change: Northeast Central Durham

Voices After the Deluge: Oral History Investigations of the Great North Carolina Flood

Whole Lives: The Durham HIV Life Review Project

The Brown Creek Correctional Institute Life Review Performance Project

Chatham County at the Crossroads

New Immigrants and Neighborhood Change: Northeast Central Durham

Woman with Children in Front Yard of Durham Home
The Southern Oral History Program's "Listening for a Change" initiative in the Northeast Central area of Durham, North Carolina, is exploring the impact of the growing Latino population in a low-income neighborhood historically populated predominantly by African Americans. Interviewees include African American, Latino, and Anglo residents who describe the evolution of life, work, and social patterns in the neighborhood. Project coordinators Alicia Rouverol and Jill Hemming are focusing on the themes of assimilation, ethnic and political identity, and identity formation, as well as examining cross-cultural issues such as retention of past traditions, relationship to home country,
the immigrant experience in work, church, and social settings, and the creation of cultural and social institutions like local markets and newspapers. Interviewers are following immigrants' stories chronologically, from life and work in the home country to the journey to the United States to the creation of a new home in Durham. By documenting the lives of men and women within a discrete neighborhood, across a range of ages, and from a host of Central and South American countries in addition to Mexico, the interviews reveal a rich fabric of community life and help to illuminate how North Carolina communities continue to be shaped by the experience of immigration.

With support from the North Carolina Humanities Council, Rouverol and Hemming organized a community banquet and cultural program entitled "Gathering Neighborhood Voices," which drew more than fifty Northeast Central residents together in
Barber Shop
September 1999 for Latino and Southern home cooking, performances by local musicians and dancers, and lively discussion. Neighborhood leaders spoke with invigorating candor about the tensions between black and Latino populations and shared ideas on fostering interracial and cross-cultural cooperation through a better understanding of each other's historical experience. Further plans for community outreach include a choreographed movement piece for elementary schools, a community mural, a video, a community history booklet, and a CD-ROM multimedia presentation. Hemming and Rouverol have involved a team of community liaisons and interviewers in their work, including Katushka Olave, Jacquelyn Wagstaff, Colin Austin, Ciro Arroyo Vicente, Angela Hornsby, and Ann Kaplan.

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
(919) 962-0455