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Project Prospectus

Unheard History:

A University of North Carolina Charlotte Oral History Handbook

My proposed project includes a website on which to create and display an oral history handbook for UNC Charlotte students. This digital oral history platform would be a way for UNCC students to engage with history of the profession, learn how to conduct oral histories, explore what the Atkins Library oral history collection has to offer, and provide examples and templates on how to begin conducting an oral history project at UNCC. My project would provide a much needed UNCC specific handbook (first in digital format and then modified for print format). To date, the university provides digital resources – such as access to interviews and interview transcriptions – as well as print material such as books and articles on oral history. Tina Wright also provides workshops to individuals and classes interested in learning about oral history. One resource the University does not provide, however, is an oral history handbook specific to UNCC student needs, which include the resources available at the University, examples of past student projects, “how-to” guides, email templates, instructions on how to begin a digital history project, and how to partner with the library or complete an individual project. The goal of my project is to create a digital platform that connects UNC Charlotte students to the larger discussion of oral history, while providing the tools for students to engage with the profession and allow them to begin thinking about using oral histories to complete undergraduate and graduate theses. The final product will be a complete web page, accompanied by a printed handbook, that the History department, as well as the library, can keep to use when students want to complete an oral history project or the University wants to provide workshops to students.

My historical approach to this project will be twofold: first, I will explain the origin and rise of oral history as a method of history and subsequent profession, second, the examples that I provide will highlight the history of the juvenile court in North Carolina.. I intend to create an introduction to the topic which will showcase oral history as a growing field of history, as well as its use as a method of producing history. This introduction will build off the works of previous scholars, however, I intend to include information specific to UNC Charlotte, such as when the University began to collect oral histories, how our repositories work, and when/why we hired a full time oral historian. This micro-history places my work into the larger context of oral history. Additionally, my own research on North Carolina juvenile courts and the Juvenile Court Statute of 1919 will aid as the examples in the handbook, such as how to begin researching a topic and how to include historical documents into a twenty-first century digital project. This oral history handbook will fit a need that is currently missing from UNC Charlotte. UNC Charlotte students have no digital or physical “how-to” guide for conducting oral histories, and I believe this will be helpful to them. My approach to this subject is different from what has already been said on the topic because it has a narrow tunnel vision (specific to UNCC). While this project may not fill a gap in the historiography of oral history, or the history of juvenile incarceration in North Carolina, it will provide a resource for students. It will provide an engaging (and aesthetically pleasing) way to learn about the history of oral history at UNC Charlotte, while simultaneously providing the resources students may need at the click of a button.

In terms of new media, while I intend for this project to reflect a traditional website, I hope to include aspects on the website that provide opportunities for listening and engaging with oral histories. I hope to include media resources that we learn about in class, currently I have only explored the mapping techniques and Twine (storytelling resources) and I do not foresee using those in my website. Some media that I intend to present on the website include “how-to” videos, oral histories available to download and listen to, images, and audio. I also plan to link my website to the oral history repository at UNC Charlotte.

Since I am completing a two-part project on the history, practice, and method of oral history, as well as examples from my own personal thesis work, I have two working bibliographies. Most of my sources for oral history can be found at UNC Charlotte at the Atkins Library (or borrowed through Interlibrary Loan), while many of the primary sources come from the research I did for my thesis over the summer. My hope for this project is that I am able to cohesively combine my oral history interviews and thesis work into one location, build an easily navigable and aesthetically pleasing website, and incorporate new media that I learn about in this class.

Working Bibliography:

Oral History:

  1. Primary Sources:
    1. Oral History Collection (Atkins Library)
  2. Books:
    1. DeBlasio, Donna Marie. Catching Stories: A Practical Guide to Oral History. Athens: Swallow Press, 2009.
    2. Ritchie, Donald A. Doing Oral History, A Practical Guide. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
    3. Thompson, Paul. Voices of the Past. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000.
  3. Chapters:
    1. Charlton, Thomas. “Chapter Three: How to Interview.” In Oral History for Texans by Thomas L. Charlton, 21-38. Austin: Texas Historical Commission, 1985.
  4. Articles:
    1. Proctor, Samuel. “Oral History Comes of Age.” The Oral History Review, Vol. 3 (1975): 1-6.
    2. Swain, Ella D. “Oral History in the Archives: Its Documentary Role in the Twenty-First Century.” The American Archivist, Vol. 66, No. 1 (Spring – Summer, 2003): 1-21.
  5. Websites:
    1. “Principles for Oral History and Best Practices,” 2000 Oral History Guidelines, Oral History Association, last modified 2018,
    2. “A Practical Guide to Oral History,” Southern Oral History Program at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, last modified 2014,
    3. “The Heart of Oral History: How to Interview,” Baylor Institute for Oral History, accessed September 11th, 2018.
    4. “History of Oral History,” Oral History Society, last accessed September 10th, 2018,

Personal thesis: 

  1. Primary Sources:
    1. Editorial Board. “County Juvenile Courts.” The University of North Carolina Newsletter, June 18, 1919.
    2. Editorial Board. “Our Social Progress is in Peril.” The University of North Carolina Newsletter, October 13, 1920.
    3. Hyatt, Carl B. “Treatment, rather than prison, should be given the child.” The Brevard News, September 10, 1931.
    4. Aydlett, Laurence. “Number of Children Under 16 Illegally Held in Jail Decreases.” The University of North Carolina Newsletter, December 25, 1947.
    5. The Printing Class of the Stonewall Jackson Manual Training and Industrial School. “The Juvenile Court.” The Uplift, March 26, 1921.
    6. The Printing Class of the Stonewall Jackson Manual Training and Industrial School. “Only one of the kind.” The Uplift, March 10, 1923.
    7. The Public and Private Papers of Thomas Walter Bickett, Governor of North Carolina 1917-1921. Compiled by Santford Martin, Private Secretary of the Governor.
  2. Books:
    1. Alley, Betty Gene and John Wilson. North Carolina Juvenile Justice System: A History 1868-1993. Raleigh: NC Administrative Office of the Courts, 1994.
    2. Frankel, Noralee and Nancy S. Dye. Gender, Class, Race, and Reform in the Progressive Era. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 1991.
    3. Hawfield, S.G. History of the Stonewall Jackson Manual Training and Industrial School. Concord: Boys of the Printing Department, Stonewall Jackson Manual Training and Industrial School, 1946.
  3. Articles:
    1. Birckhead, Tamar R. “North Carolina, Juvenile Court Jurisdiction, and the Resistance to Reform.” North Carolina Law Review 86, (2008): 1443-1500.
    2. Franklin, V.P. “Introduction: Documenting the NAACP’s First Century – From Combating Racial Injustices to Challenges Racial Inequities.” The Journal of African American History 94, (Fall 2009): 453-463.
  4. Online Resources:
    1. Mason, Janet. “Juvenile Justice in NC: A Historical Perspective,” UNC School of Government, online presentation, October 21, 2009, PowerPoint,

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