Gone Home: Race and Roots through Appalachia,” exhibition about black coal miners in Appalachia on display at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library

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For immediate use

 

“Gone Home: Race and Roots through Appalachia,” exhibition about black coal miners in Appalachia on display at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library

 

(Chapel Hill, N.C.—May 12, 2015) – An exhibition of the little-known stories of African Americans who left the rural South during the first part of the 20th century and settled in the coal fields of West Virginia, Tennessee, and Eastern Kentucky is on display at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “Gone Home: Race and Roots through Appalachia” is currently housed in the Melba Remig Saltarelli Exhibit Room in Wilson Library on the UNC-Chapel Hill campus through Aug. 20.

 

“Gone Home” grew out of the Eastern Kentucky African American Migration Project (EKAAMP), a novel partnership among the Southern Historical Collection in Wilson Library; Karida Brown, a doctoral student in sociology at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island; and Appalachian communities.

 

Brown, a descendent of coal miners, has recorded more than 200 oral history interviews with individuals who live in or grew up in the region. The Southern Historical Collection archives these recordings, along with photographs, organizational records, and family papers that community members have offered to Brown.

 

Through exhibit themes such as school, home, and coal, visitors come to know the close-knit African American community of Harlan County, Kentucky, one story at a time. Panels display excerpts from the oral history interviews, which visitors with smart phones can also listen to. On view are photographs and memorabilia from community social events, publications by schools and churches, news reports, and even a brick of coal. A television in a reconstructed living room plays a video about the project. “When I got that audio recorder and hit the road, people told their stories and they made history, and together we made history,” Brown says in the video.

 

“Gone Home” is free and open to the public. For hours, visit http://library.unc.edu/wilson/ or call (919) 962-3765. To learn more about the Eastern Kentucky African American Migration Project, visit the project website at http://ekaamp.web.unc.edu/.

 

-Carolina-

 

Library Contact: Bryan Giemza, (919) 962-434, bryan@unc.edu

 

Communications and Public Affairs contact: Helen Buchanan, (919) 445-8555, helenb@unc.edu