Southern Voices

Southern Cultures

Meet the Southern Oral History Program, our colleagues at the Center for the Study of the American South, UNC-Chapel Hill.

From its founding in 1973, the Southern Oral History Program has explored the history and culture of the American South by talking to its activists, politicians, educators, laborers, innovators, business leaders, and more. After more than forty years, the SOHP’s core mission remains the same: the telling of diverse histories through research, teaching, and engagement in changing communities.

“Oral history and its connection to activism are the very roots of the Southern Oral History Program.”
—Rachel Seidman, acting director

In January 2015, SOHP launched a podcast, “Press Record.” Drawing on clips from their collection of nearly 6,000 interviews, the podcast parses what it means to conduct oral histories and to learn about the past from those who lived it. Over 16,000 listeners have downloaded recent episodes on women in politics, LGBTQ activism, segregation in rural spaces, and what to do when people’s noisy pets intrude on oral history interviews.

"You don't have to be famous for your life to be history."

Evan Faulkenbury interviews acting director Rachel Seidman for the “Press Record” podcast.

SOHP founding director, Jacquelyn Hall, interviewing Guy and Guion Johnson in 1974. All photos courtesy SOHP.

Explore “Press Record”

Tune into “Press Record” for a curated listening tour of SOHP’s archives. Explore clips from previous episodes below, dive into the podcast archives, and subscribe so you never miss an episode.

What to do when a pet interrupts an interview? (Ep. 5)

Episode 8:
Voices From Charlotte

In response to the protests over the police shooting of Keith Scott in Charlotte, “Press Record” released a special episode called “Voices from Charlotte.”


Protests erupted in Charlotte following the fatal police shooting of Keith Lamont Scott.

"It's still Jim Crow." —Hattie Scott in Ep. 8.

Episode 7:
Oral History for Movement Building

“I want to collect stories because I think they are powerful to move the issues that we need to keep working on.” —Marina Lopez

How have activists incorporated oral history into their work and how can oral historians take their work outside the academy and begin to mobilize in their communities?

A workshop for the Cleveland Homelessness Oral History Project.

"Press Record" hosts introduce Ep. 7.
"We see the power of stories."—Marina Lopez in Ep. 7.

Episode 4:
LGBTQ Southern Oral History and Activism

This episode focuses on the history of LGBTQ life and activism in North Carolina.


A flyer from the late 1970’s advertising a CGA-hosted coffeehouse and a picnic. Courtesy of the North Carolina Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

"Tolerance is not good enough for me."—Ping Nguyen in Ep. 4.

Search on Your Own

The SOHP’s oral histories are archived in the Southern Historical Collection at UNC’s Wilson Library, where the transcripts and audio recordings for nearly 6,000 interviews are available online to researchers worldwide.

Header illustration by Katy Clune.