Interviews, cemeteries, and fundraisers.. oh my!

March was an incredibly busy month. Between conducting two oral history interviews for PCH, continuing work on the cemetery project, traveling over spring break, visiting graduate schools, and planning and executing our intern fundraiser as part of Women’s History Month, I’ve been busy both at PCH and otherwise. I am excited to say that I was finally able to sit down with two members of the community and carry out oral history interviews. The first was the long awaited interview with Derrick Jones, a man who lived in the endangered Hogan Rogers House. His interview was my first time as the interviewer for an oral history. It was a learning experience for me, both in the art of interviewing and about life in the Hogan Rogers House. Mr. Jones’s interview connects the structure, important alone for its architectural style and period, with a personal story and human history. Mr. Jones talked at length about his parents, his memories of childhood and of the house itself. It is important to realize that history is not just about the buildings or objects that remain but is also about the story that can be told through those things.

The second interview was with Mrs. Kathy Atwater, a woman who knew Clelue Johnson. Mrs. Atwater was a child and young woman when she knew Mrs. Johnson, but she remembered her fondly. She had extremely useful and new information for PCH about Clelue’s involvement at First Baptist Church. Mrs. Johnson was Kathy’s Brownie scout leader and also served on many committees at First Baptist. Mrs. Atwater also made recommendations of who else we might talk to about Clelue Johnson’s life.

Since I wasn’t able to do these interviews until March, I will unfortunately not be able to work through the next phases of the oral history process, including transcription and further interviews on the Clelue Johnson project. I will be leaving behind my research, notes, and contact information though for a future intern.

Our Women’s History Month intern fundraiser took place on March 23rd and included a panel of women who are active leaders in the Chapel Hill community, followed by a screening of the film Carolina Blues. While the panel discussion was a success and was highly interesting, educational, and inspirational, the fundraising part of the event was not so successful since our turnout was low. Better luck next time, hopefully.

For the remainder of my time at Preservation Chapel Hill, I will be finishing the writing of text about three of Chapel Hill’s historic cemeteries for the Town’s website. Each of us interns will also be presenting about our time at PCH for the community and members on April 9th at the Horace Williams House. It’s hard to believe my time at PCH is nearly done!

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