On February 25, 2017, twenty students from American Studies Professor Bobby Allen’s undergraduate and graduate digital humanities courses conducted a history harvest in the Warner Room of the Braswell Memorial Library in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Led by Melissa Dollman and Elijah Gaddis, and sponsored by the Community Histories Workshop, the event was designed to encourage people to share their memories, stories, photographs, and other items to help us tell a well-rounded history of Rocky Mount Mills.
Over the course of a few hours, we welcomed the collective wisdom of a few dozen Rocky Mount residents in our efforts to identify people, places, and events in digitized and printed historic photographs and films–in a way that only locals can do–as well provided equipment to digitize visitors’ films, photographs, and documents related to personal histories of the mill and village. We also added six new interviews to our growing oral history collection, in addition to dozens of amazing digitized photographs, newspaper clippings, letters, and official mill documents. Some highlights included an employee handbook from the early 1940s, report cards from the mill school, family photographs from the 1930s and ’40s, and images of an employee holiday party inside the mill in the 1990s.
For more about the harvest and to view photos and videos from the event, please see the Community Histories Workshop blog post here.