Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Importance of Oral Histories

This past month, I've had the immense pleasure of participating in the Black Belt Oral History Project--whereby I've set up appointments for folks to be interviewed by a young student at UWA-Livingston, AL. It was inspiring to see the folks we chose for the project come and be interviewed by this young lady; the enthusiasm that they had as well as her own for the project. Along with this, I had already chosen Nov. 8th as the time for our own series to begin: Canebrake Oral History Series: A Window into Our Collective Past beginning with the Oral History Collection of the late Mrs. Sarah "Sallie" Emily Ellis Weekley presented at the library by her grandson, Steven Wallace. We had a wonderful time on Thursday evening, the occasion being her birthday (she was born in 1877) in Ireland, Monroe County, AL, having moved to what would become known as the town of Repton, Conecuh, AL as a young child. In the 1950s Sallie was interviewed by a cousin, Jac Vernon Brantley and these conversations had been recorded on Dictaphone tapes, which then were transferred to cassette tapes, and through a grant with UWA-Dr. Tina Naremore Jones, the tapes were restored, formatted and digitized into CD media. The University of West Alabama Center for the Black Belt Studies; The Alabama Archives and History; and the Evergreen-Conecuh County Public Library all received copies of the CDs. I'll be posting some photographs of last Thursday evening's event! The first photo is of Sallie as a young child; the second photo is her grandson, Steven Wallace during the presentation at the library this past Thursday evening.

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