Oral Histories

An Excerpt from the Southern Oral History Project website:
"Since 1973, the Southern Oral History Program has worked to preserve the voices of the southern past. We have collected more than 5,000 interviews with people from all walks of life—from mill workers to civil rights leaders to future presidents of the United States. Made available through University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill's renowned Southern Historical Collection online, these interviews capture the vivid personalities, poignant personal stories, and behind-the-scenes decision-making that bring history to life."

Dye House at Glencoe Mill

Over the past seven years Lane spent considerable time exploring and photographing abandoned textile mills in the Piedmont area of North Carolina.  Somewhere along the way he discovered the online interviews of mill workers archived by SOHP.  Most of these interviews were conducted in the early 70's by researchers and graduate students from UNC.  The recorded voices gave an emotional voice to the images and he was in awe of the newly discovered (on his part)concept of oral history.

The Sauratown project has grown from an initial concept of photographing landscapes and workers on three small family-operated tobacco operations in Stokes County NC. After spending many hours informally talking to these folks we realized there was a back story there - one of struggle maintaining a 200+ year culture in a quickly diminishing marketplace.  This realization created the decision to publish a book - not just fine art images but narrative from and about the people and families behind the images.

And from where would this narrative develop? 

Ah. Much of it from recorded interviews. And dog-gone-it, if we're recording, we decided to do so a structured format meeting the strict standards required for submission to the UNC oral history program. The SOHP team was interested in the topic. We've had a number of conversations with Jaycie Vos, their Coordinator of Collections.

And so here we are.

(For more information on the Southern Oral History Project, visit their website.)