Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Oral History Project to Chronicle Civil Rights in Northeastern North Carolina

Feb 22, 2022

The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and the State Historic Preservation Office (HPO) seek to conduct oral history interviews with persons active in the Civil Rights Movement between the years 1941 to 1976 in northeastern North Carolina.

The interviews will be conducted by Velma Fann of New South Associates. Fann holds a B.A. in journalism from Howard University, an M.A. in political science from Emory University, and a graduate certificate in Heritage Preservation from Georgia State University. An author and public historian, Fann has served as a consultant on the Atlanta Student Movement historical trail, as a scholar-in-residence at the historic Penn Center, and as an adjunct professor at Georgia State University, Department of African American Studies. The “Untold Stories of the Struggle for Civil Rights in the Places of Northeastern North Carolina: A Research Study” is supported through an African American Civil Rights grant from the National Park Service, United States Department of Interior to the North Carolina Preservation Office to identify places of significance to the Movement.

Bounded by the I-95 corridor to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, U.S. Highway 64 to the south, and Virginia to the north, the Northeastern region of North Carolina is rich in African American and Civil Rights history. The State Historic Preservation Office works in conjunction with the Division of State Historic Sites and the N.C. African American Heritage Commission in commemorating Civil Rights history in northeastern N.C., including projects such as the Golden Frinks House in Edenton and the N.C. Civil Rights Trail.

The goal of this project is to identify and map places in the region where organizing, planning, picketing, and protests took place in association with the Civil Rights Movement. The project has received guidance from the N.C. African American Heritage Commission and is in alignment with the N.C. Civil Rights Trail, a program of the NCAAHC.

This area includes Currituck, Camden, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Chowan, Bertie, Northampton, Halifax, Edgecombe, Martin, Washington, Tyrrell, and Dare counties.

In many instances, contemporary local newspapers did not cover these events, or did so in an abbreviated manner. As a result, oral history is often the best and, in some cases, only record of Civil Rights activities in a particular area.

As a consultant for the grant project, Velma Fann of New South Associates seeks to speak with individuals with first-hand knowledge of places of protest during the Movement. These stories will add valuable information and become part of the collected oral histories at the North Carolina State Archives. Please follow and share the “Mapping the Civil Rights Movement in Northeastern North Carolina” Facebook page for updates: https://www.facebook.com/groups/civilrightslocationsnenc/about.

For general questions about the project, please contact Sarah Woodard, 919-814-6573, sarah.woodard@ncdcr.gov. For consideration as an interviewee in the Oral History project, please contact Velma Fann, historian, New South Associates, at 770-498-4155 x126 or vfann@newsouthassoc.com.

This project is financed in part with federal funds from the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior. However, the contents and opinions do not necessarily reflect views or policies of the U.S. Department of the Interior, nor does the mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Department of the Interior.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.
NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, three science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 41 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the N.C. Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, the African American Heritage Commission, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, and the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please visit www.ncdcr.gov.

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