Raleigh’s New Dix Hill Park: Recovering the History of Dix Hospital for Future Generations

Reading Room, New East 211 | Wednesday, February 14, 2018, 12:30-1:45 PM Please join us for a lunch-time presentation and discussion of the transformation of the Dorothea Dix Hospital site into a “destination” park, and the role of the Community Histories Workshop in recovering the long history of that site. The presentation on Dorothea Dix Hospital will take place in New East 211 on Wednesday, February 14th from 12:30pm-1:45pm. From 1856 to 2012, Dix Hospital was the state’s principal insane asylum. For 150 years prior to 1856, Dix Hill, as it was called, was part of the Hunter family plantation. After the closure of the facility, the 308-acre site was purchased from the state by the City of Raleigh so that it could be repurposed as one of the largest new urban parks in the U.S. The Dix Park Conservancy Board was formed to facilitate planning and design of the park and has engaged the nationally renowned landscape architecture firm Michael Van Valkenburgh...
Read More

The CHW Releases “Stories of the Mills”

The Community Histories Workshop would like to announce the release of Stories of the Mills, the first round of transcribed oral history interviews relating to Rocky Mount Mills. Many of these interviews were conducted during the Rocky Mount Mills Worker Reunion event on October 29, 2016, and they tell the story of life at the Mills. All six oral histories are hosted on Prospect, a web-based plugin for WordPress. They include not only the interviews themselves but also transcriptions of each interview that correspond to the ongoing conversations. These interviews are a window into the past of Rocky Mount Mills. Lorene Smith was born in the mill village and began working at the Mills before World War II. In her interview, she offers an overview of her forty-year career working in the spinning room. In contrast, Tommy Moss and David Rackley only worked at Rocky Mount Mills during high school, but their interviews still describe growing up in the mill village...
Read More

CHW Staff Opportunity

The CHW is pleased to announce that we will be adding a one-year, full-time staff position to coordinate the next phase of our work in Rocky Mount. The full position description has been posted on the "Careers at Carolina" website: https://unc.peopleadmin.com/postings/124984 Applications and supporting materials are accepted only through this portal. The UNC-Chapel Hill Community Histories Workshop (communityhistories.org ) announces a one-year position in public history and public humanities to lead Rocky Mount Mills: From Adaptive Reuse to Public Engagement, a community history and archiving project funded through a grant from the National Historic Publications and Records Commission of the National Archives and Records Administration. Responsibilities of the Social Research Specialist/Project Coordinator include but are not necessarily limited to: *support project Principal Investigator, Professor Robert Allen *serve as project manager and team leader for the project, coordinating effort by all participants and contributing units *coordinate project administration with the staff of the UNC Center for Urban and Regional Studies *coordinate the work of the project’s graduate fellow *working with...
Read More

New Pinboard Visualization Released

The Community Histories Workshop has recently created a new digital exhibit to explore the history of Rocky Mount Mills. Similar to the Digital Archive, this exhibit uses Prospect, a web-based plugin for WordPress. It is based on Prospect’s Pinboard visualization function and allows the user to explore spatial connections between historical sources relating to Rocky Mount Mills and the geography of the mill and surrounding mill village. We began our construction of the Rocky Mount Mills Pinboard Visualization with an aerial shot of the mill taken by Rocky Mount Evening & Sunday Telegram photographer Charles Killebrew. Based on our research, we believe that the images dates from sometime in the late 1950s or early 1960s. The photograph provides a detailed perspective on the Tar River in the foreground, the mill, and the streets of the mill village, and downtown Rocky Mount is even visible in the background. We chose this specific image because it displays important culture structures that were town...
Read More

Lynching in the American South Workshop

On June 12 and 13, the Community Histories Workshop will host "Lynching in the American South: A Workshop."  Led by Seth Kotch and Elijah Gaddis, the workshop will bring participants into the work of the CHW and especially our project The Red Record.  Participants will learn about lynching in North Carolina and around the South, be introduced to and practice some new digital tools, and help us expand the project to other states around the South.  You can learn more and register for the workshop here: http://lynching.web.unc.edu/2017-workshop/ .   ...
Read More

Building the Digital Archive

We started the Rocky Mount Mills Digital Archive as a way to gather together some of the thousands of archived items from the mill's two hundred year history. We started with digitized items from three main repositories: the Rocky Mount Mills Photo Archive and the Rocky Mount Mills Awards, 1970s-1990s, both hosted by the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Charles S. Killebrew Photographic Collection, 1948-2001, hosted by the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Since these first items went up, we've continued to add more items to our online collections. There are photographs, newspaper articles, letters, posters, and other items housed in collections throughout North Carolina. Some are in formal archives–like the Rocky Mount Mills Records and the Charles Killebrew Photographic Collection at UNC, or the many collections at Braswell Memorial Library in Rocky Mount. Other collections are in family homes and attics and...
Read More

Harvesting History in Rocky Mount

Harvesting History in Rocky Mount -- An Experiment in Crowdsourcing Documents On February 25, 2017, twenty students from Professor Robert Allen's AMST 275H ("Documenting Communities") and AMST 840 ("Digital Humanities/Digital American Studies") 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. [What is a History Harvest?] (Photos from the day, and a selection we digitized.) Following a tour of the Rocky Mount Mills site led by Capitol Broadcasting’s Scott Roberts and Julie Baggett, the students spent the afternoon welcoming the collective wisdom of more than thirty 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. We also...
Read More