CHW Recently Tours Rocky Mount Mills

On April 19, 2018, several members of CHW took a trip over to Rocky Mount to meet with Rocky Mount Mills Development Manager Evan Covington Chavez in order to discuss progress of our work, future directions, and what CBC has planned in terms of programming and public spaces. We toured the site, which is quite a busy construction zone. What a difference between April and October! October was the last time we toured the property. Then, the mill interior was empty and cavernous. Now, the frames for the apartments are up, a new parking lot is being built, the hydroelectric generator room is cleaner, and new windows are going into the future event space. Another purpose of our visit was to examine the contents of CBC's storage room, which contains a lot of material they pulled from the mill and the mill village. What treasures! The rooms were stacked full of prints, machine parts, antiques, manuals, and file cabinets full of...
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CHW Attends the Black Communities Conference

The historic Carolina Theatre in Durham hosted the Black Communities Conference for three days from April 23-25. It was a multi-disciplinary conference hosted by The Institute for African American Research and NCGrowth, which brought together participants from various fields to discuss issues pertaining to African American history, culture, business, art, identity, etc. There were many lectures, workshops, and working groups that allowed for collaborative thinking on how to address the challenges black communities face. One amazing pop-up was the VR experience "I Am A Man," developed by Dr. Derek Ham from North Carolina State's College of Design. Using an Oculus Rift headset, users can place themselves within the 1968 Sanitation Worker's Strike, complete with lifting up and holding signs, photos, and documents in a virtual environment. "I Am A Man" will be at the National Civil Rights Museum in Tennessee and will eventually travel to more places. ...
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Teaching the Asylum: Health Humanities

Over spring semester 2018, the Community Histories Workshop partnered with Professor Jordynn Jack (Director of the English M.A. Program in Literature, Medicine, and Culture; and Director of the Health Humanities Lab at UNC Chapel Hill) to introduce students to the world of the nineteenth century insane asylum through the lives of individual patients. Students in Professor Jack’s Research Seminar in Aging and Mental Health were the first anywhere to work with admissions ledgers from the North Carolina Insane Asylum (later Dorothea Dix Hospital).   CHW undergraduate research fellow (and soon to become the inaugural CHW post-graduate research fellow) Dani Callahan and graduate research fellow  Sarah Almond (pictured above) provided Prof. Jack with admissions ledgers covering the period 1860 to 1870. In February, Dani and Sarah met with the class to demonstrate the transcription project the CHW is involved with, which will lead to the creation of the first patient database for a nineteenth century American asylum—more than 7000 records from 1856 to 1917. ...
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Teacher Fellows Featured in The Rocky Mount Telegram

Renny Taylor, history teacher at Nash Central High School, and Elijah Kane, history teacher at W.A. Patillo Middle School, have been featured in The Rocky Mount Telegram. The article documents their efforts in bringing to life the history of Rocky Mount and Rocky Mount Mills for their students. They are instrumental parts of Carolina K-12's initiative to bring the resources of UNC-Chapel Hill to area educators and key role players in utilizing and sharing CHW's oral histories, historical findings, and digital platforms. Read the article here: http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/News/2018/04/16/Local-teachers-trace-history-of-mill.html...
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Supporting our colleagues at the NC Digital Heritage Center

From our first digitization efforts in Gastonia around the Digital Loray project in 2013 through our current work in the CHW, the NC Digital Heritage Center has been our steadfast and invaluable partner in collecting, digitizing, curating, and sharing community history.  They are  finalists for a much-deserved national award given by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. ...
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The Land & Rocky Mount Mills

The Rocky Mount Mills team recently published a historical narrative about the mill that considers how the environment shaped the town and industry of Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Rocky Mount's Tar River especially encouraged initial human occupation of the land and was central to 12,000 years of continuous settlement. Some archaeological studies have even uncovered evidence of Native American occupation for thousands of years prior to the city or the mill. Read more about the fascinating connection between the environment and its various occupants on our Rocky Mount Mills project website.  ...
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College of Arts & Sciences Highlights CHW

We here at CHW are so pleased that UNC's College of Arts & Sciences recently highlighted the work of Community Histories Workshop. An online article, "Capturing Community History," showcases CHW staff and projects such as Digital Loray, Rocky Mount Mills and Dorothea Dix Hospital. Additionally, the article discusses the public resonance of our work with our community partners and at Carolina. Read more here: https://college.unc.edu/2018/03/21/capturing-community-history/  ...
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What is History’s Role in Transformative Renewal?

An early twentieth-century promotional booklet about Rocky Mount Mills in North Carolina boasts that the mill doesn’t owe its modern success to its past. “Though proud of its history,” the booklet opines, “the management [of Rocky Mount Mills] has never been immersed in the past...[rather,] funds have been bountifully supplied...in the efficient production of dependable cotton yarns of a high and uniform quality.” (more…)...
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CHW Statement of Principles

Established in 2016, the Community Histories Workshop (CHW) works with local communities to recover, preserve, and share the memories, stories, and materials that reflect the multi-layered histories of place.  By helping to connect past to present we believe that communities can envision more just, inclusive, and democratic futures. We are pleased to share the Community Histories Workshop Statement of Principles, endorsed by the CHW team in January 2018. As the CHW began its second year in the fall of 2017 with an expanded team and new opportunities, we embarked on a semester-long strategic planning initiative.  It  involved creation of a more transparent and efficient organizational structure, consultations with key university and area leaders, and the forging of a statement of principles to guide our practice and announce to current and prospective partners who we are, what we do, how we work, what values inform our work, and why our work is important both to the university and to the communities in which...
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