WorldCat Identities

Southern Oral History Program

Works: 590 works in 602 publications in 1 language and 18,603 library holdings
Genres: Interviews  Handbooks and manuals  Oral histories 
Classifications: D16.14, 907.2
Publication Timeline
Most widely held works by Southern Oral History Program
Oral history interview with Ethelene McCabe Allen, May 21, 2006 : interview C-0316, Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) by Ethelene McCabe Allen( )

2 editions published in 2007 in English and held by 69 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Ethelene McCabe Allen was born in 1934 to tenant farmers and spent most of her childhood moving around Wayne County and Johnson County, North Carolina. This interview is the third in a thirteen-part series of interviews conducted by her daughter, Barbara C. Allen. In this interview, Allen focuses on describing her childhood and relationships within her family. Beginning with a brief description of her parents' relationship, Allen moves to a discussion of how her parents disciplined their children. Allen recalls that while her parents exercised stern discipline, she and her siblings were never treated cruelly. Overall, Allen describes a happy childhood, although she also contends that her parents never displayed overt affection towards their children. Throughout the interview, Allen offers numerous anecdotes regarding her parents' work as tenant farmers, their leisure activities, and her mother's efforts to abide by prescribed gender ideals for domestic work. She briefly describes the effects of her father's death in 1958, when her mother and her younger brother had to assume the duties of the family's farm. Most of the interview, however, centers around Allen's memories from her childhood during the 1930s and 1940s. Researchers will be especially interested in Allen's vivid recollections about her upbringing for their ability to shed light on the kinds of family dynamics that were characteristic of typical tenant farming families during this era
Oral history interview with Virginia Foster Durr, March 13, 14, 15, 1975 : interview G-0023-1, Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) by Virginia Foster Durr( )

2 editions published between 2006 and 2007 in English and held by 68 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Virginia Foster Durr discusses her early life and how she became aware of the social justice problems plaguing twentieth-century America. Descended from a wealthy southern family that emigrated to Alabama during the early 1800s, she begins by telling stories she heard from her grandmother about life in the antebellum South. She explains what life was like on the plantation when she was a child, focusing on race relations between her family and the black workers employed by her grandmother. Her grandmother practiced noblesse oblige, giving gifts and parties to the poorer white and black families in her community. Throughout the interview, Durr reflects on her relationship with her father, addressing his disappointment in the fact that she was a girl and listing his various disciplinary methods. While Durr's parents carefully maintained an aura of condescending tolerance toward the blacks they employed, not all of her relatives were as gentle. After the death of her grandmother, Durr's parents advanced in Birmingham society, joining the country club and other social organizations. She repeatedly returns to the issues surrounding southern female gender identity, especially for elite women. She talks about how her social circle dealt with issues of sexuality and describes the racial and class divisions that ran through Birmingham during her youth. As teenagers, Durr and her sister Josephine, along with many other young southern belles, were sent to New York City for finishing and socialization. While there, Josephine met and married Hugo Black, the future Supreme Court Justice. Durr asserts that while her sister and Hugo Black had a happy marriage, the relationship stifled something within her sister. Nevertheless, the other women in her family never questioned the roles and even averred that women who fought for more rights had immoral reasons. Durr managed to convince her parents to send her to Wellesley for two years. While there, she began to question many of the assumptions that had governed her relationships and behaviors while in Alabama. Because of financial problems, Durr left Wellesley after her sophomore year, returning home to spend a year as a debutante. When she failed to find an eligible offer that year, she took a job at the law library, where she met her future husband, Clifford
Oral history interview with Flossie Moore Durham, 1976 September 2 : Interview H-66. Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-4007) by Flossie Moore Durham( )

1 edition published in 2001 in English and held by 39 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Oral history interview with Jefferson M. Robinette, 1977 July : Interview H-41. Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-4007) by Jefferson M Robinette( )

1 edition published in 2001 in English and held by 39 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Oral history interview with Emma Whitesell, 1977 July 27 : [Interview H-57.] Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-4007) by Emma Whitesell( )

1 edition published in 2001 in English and held by 39 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Oral history interview with James Pharis, 1977 July 24 : Interview H-38. Series H. Piedmont Industrialization. Southern Oral History Program Collection (H-4007) by James Pharis( )

1 edition published in 2001 in English and held by 39 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Interview with Septima Poinsette Clark, July 30, 1976, Atlanta, Georgia by Septima Poinsette Clark( )

2 editions published in 2006 in English and held by 37 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Septima Clark was hired by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference to continue the voter registration and community education classes she had taught through the Highlander Folk School. She recalls some of the successes of her work with the S.C.L.C., especially the passing of the Voting Rights Act. The challenges of the work included prejudice against the female leaders in the organization, violent reactions by local police and Ku Klux Klan, and occasional class prejudice amongst SCLC leaders. Clark notes how several leaders needed to learn techniques for serving poor rural people, and she often corrected their misunderstandings. She compares the leadership strategies of Andrew Young, Wyatt T. Walker, and Ralph Abernathy and explains why the organization flourished under the influence of certain civil rights workers like Young and Jesse Jackson
Interview with Septima Poinsette Clark, July 25, 1976, Charleston, South Carolina by Septima Poinsette Clark( )

3 editions published between 1976 and 2006 in English and held by 37 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Septima Clark was a teacher and citizen's education director for the Highlander Folk School and Southern Christian Leadership Conference. She also worked with the South Carolina Council on Human Relations, YWCA, and American Friends Service Committee. This interview covers her childhood in Charleston, SC, and her family's efforts to survive poverty and racial prejudice. Her mother was a washerwoman reared in Haiti, and her father was a former slave on the Poinsett plantation. Her first job as a teacher on John's Island (1916-19) led to her early activism with the NAACP, her friendship with Judge and Mrs. Waring, and her work with the Charleston YWCA. She married Nerie David Clark as an act of rebellion against her parents, but she chose not to remarry after his early death. She attended college in Columbia, returned to Charleston in 1947, and lobbied for the first local credit union to serve black workers. After she lost her teaching position in 1956 due to her NAACP membership, she worked for the Highlander Folk School encouraging voter registration and education. The SCLC hired her to form education programs, but her plans for increasing community involvement, protecting the labor rights of black teachers, and educating black voters were often ignored because she was female. The interview ends with her thoughts on why she started receiving more recognition for her work in the mid-1970s
Oral history interview with L.M. Wright Jr., April 1, 1974 : interview A-0333-1, Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) by L. M Wright( )

1 edition published in 2008 in English and held by 36 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

L.M. Wright worked as a writer and editor for the Charlotte Observer during the late 1950s and early 1960s. His positions afforded him a unique view of the unfolding political landscape in Charlotte, North Carolina, during those tumultuous years. In this interview, Wright speaks at length about the various factors that shaped local politics in Charlotte into the mid-1970s. He begins by addressing the changing role of the Chamber of Commerce in local politics, arguing that over the course of the 1960s its centrality to political developments began to dwindle. Despite the Chamber's dwindling power, however, Wright asserts throughout that business interests, specifically those of the downtown area, continued to play a central role to local politics. Wright describes the role of historically prominent business figures, including the Belk and Ivey families, and their relationship to local politics. In addition, he discusses the role of African American business and political leaders, including Fred Alexander, Kelly Alexander, Reginald Hawkins, and Phil Berry. At several points in the interview, Wright argues that local business leaders were quick to support desegregation in the 1960s because they understood it was in their economic interest to do so. Wright also discusses how desegregation affected local politics in terms of the political affiliations of various precincts and in the process of urban renewal. Throughout the interview, Wright's observations reveal the ways in which local politics intersected with race and economics during an era of political consolidation in Charlotte. Researchers interested in the history and politics of Charlotte will also appreciate Wright's efforts to identify various participants in local politics and the economic and political networks they built
Oral history interview with Ted Fillette, April 11, 2006 : interview U-0186, Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) by Ted Fillette( )

1 edition published in 2008 in English and held by 36 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

This is the second of two interviews with Ted Fillette, a southern lawyer who began working with the Legal Aid Society of Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, in the early 1970s. The interview begins with Fillette's assessment of grassroots activism within Charlotte, North Carolina, neighborhoods in reaction to urban renewal in the mid-1970s. He describes how residents of the Biddleville neighborhood organized with the help of the Legal Aid Society of Mecklenburg County and explains how plans to demolish the run-down neighborhood were revised to provide better public housing for the existing residents. Fillette paints a bleak picture of life for low-income tenants living in Charlotte during the 1970s: when he arrived in 1973, low-income residents had no legal protections requiring that landlords repair damaged property. Subject to substandard living conditions and given no notice for evictions (which were often retaliatory in nature), low-income people in Charlotte found themselves victims of urban renewal programs. Moreover, federal welfare programs such as AFDC (Aid to Families with Dependent Children) and Medicaid often failed to provide relief within the parameters of federal regulatory processes. Fillette devotes considerable attention in this interview to a discussion of the legal and political measures taken to ameliorate these kinds of conditions. In so doing, he describes how court cases such as Alexander v. Hill and Taylor v. Hill of the 1970s aimed to provide medical care for the mothers of unborn children and to ensure that the needy would receive welfare payments in a timely manner. In addition, he describes how he helped lobby the North Carolina General Assembly to adopt the Residential Rental Agreements Act. Fillette describes the staunch resistance the advocates for welfare rights faced in the General Assembly, drawing attention to the adept political maneuvering it took to ensure the act's passage in 1977. Fillette also discusses how housing advocacy changed in the late 1980s and describes his work with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Housing Partnership (founded in 1988), which sought to meld business and leadership in order to encourage private investment in public housing so that the community was no longer reliant on federal and state subsidies. The interview concludes with Fillette's assessment of continuing disparities in social class in Mecklenburg County in the early twenty-first century. While acknowledging that marked progress had been made, Fillette worries that continuing wage gaps and inequality in public schools are indicative of continued tensions
Oral history interview with Clifford Durr, December 29, 1974 : interview B-0017, Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) by Clifford J Durr( )

1 edition published in 2008 in English and held by 36 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Clifford Durr hailed from Alabama and began to practice law in the 1920s. In 1933, he went to Washington, D.C., to work for the Reconstruction Finance Corporation (RFC) and became a staunch New Dealer. In 1941, he resigned from the RFC and accepted an appointment to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The interview begins with Durr's discussion of the events that led to his appointment with the FCC. Durr stresses the inner workings of a complex political network and outlines the roles of personages such as President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, White House aide James Rowe, and Senator Lister Hill of Alabama. With World War II looming on the horizon, the FCC was intent upon examining the uses of radio as a communication device. Moreover, the Roosevelt Administration's efforts to break corporate monopolies were reflected in the FCC's emphasis on broadcast regulation. Durr speaks at great length about the work of the FCC and covers such topics as his efforts to incorporate more educational programming into radio broadcasts, his belief that the major networks should not be allowed to monopolize the radio waves, and the various regulations the FCC sought to impose. Durr also contextualizes his experiences at the FCC by emphasizing how the burgeoning "Red hysteria" began to affect government agencies. Durr offers a detailed retelling of how the FCC refused to fire one of its employees for alleged communist activities, which led to suspicion of his own intentions and work. Around the same time, Durr's wife, Virginia Foster Durr, was also increasingly under scrutiny for her work in leftist politics, particularly with the Southern Conference for Human Welfare. In 1948, he left the FCC and briefly set up a private law practice in Washington, D.C. Durr soon established a reputation as a defender of dissenters. He briefly outlines his defense of Frank Oppenheimer and his short-lived work with the National Farmers Union in Colorado. Durr devotes the last third of the interview to a discussion of how Virginia Foster Durr and their friend Aubrey Williams were subpoenaed by Senator James Eastland of Mississippi during the early 1950s; his own subpoena followed shortly thereafter. Durr recalls how then-Senator Lyndon Baines Johnson worked to help them against Eastland, and he describes in lively detail the hearings before the Senate Subcommittee on Internal Security
Oral history interview with Paul Edward Cline, November 8, 1979 : interview H-0239, Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) by Paul Edward Cline( )

1 edition published in 2008 in English and held by 36 WorldCat member libraries worldwide

Paul Cline came from a mill family: his father was a box loom weaver, his sisters were weavers, and Cline himself mastered a number of jobs at a textile mill before his declining health drove him from his job. After years of working with asbestos, from 1938 until the 1960s, Cline had developed brown lung disease. In this interview, he recalls his mill work and his struggle to wrest worker's compensation from his employer, J.P. Stevens. Cline's memories of his family's mill work and his own experiences have given him strongly negative opinions of textile mills. He describes tyrannical mill owners who forced their employees to work long hours in dreadful conditions; sadistic mill foremen who dangled children from windows; and capricious owners who might fire their employees at will. He also presents a vivid picture of mill life, describing his family's garden, their home, and his father's fondness for fighting. This interview provides a perspective on the struggles of one southern laborer not just to make a living but to stay alive
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Alternative Names
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Center for the Study of the American South. Southern Oral History Program

English (41)