Below are 15 oral histories that we’ve selected from our archive of 6,000 interviews. Submissions to the 2019 Sonic South competition should include at least two of these voices. Each interview has a short description, a SoundCloud file that you can download, and most of the interviews have transcripts. For instructions on how to download the audio files, see our short tutorial at the bottom of this page.


Interview #1: Quinton E. Baker

Baker reflects on how his identity as a black gay man influenced his social activism, especially his role in the 1960s civil rights protests. Baker spent months in prison, which changed his life’s trajectory. He eventually graduated from the University of Wisconsin. Baker returned to North Carolina, where he became involved in community affairs. He continued to fight for social justice in health care. (Recorded in February 2002 for the SOHP Project, History of Gay Men and Transgender People in the South.)


Interview #2: Dr. Andrew Best

Activist and physician Andrew Best describes his experiences as an African American medical practitioner in civil rights-era North Carolina, and his own efforts to desegregate medical practice and spur integration in other arenas across the state. This interview provides a detailed look at the dismantling of segregated medicine and the enduring obstacles to equality of care. (Recorded in April 1997 for the SOHP Project, Integration and Health Care in North Carolina.)

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Interview #3: Angela Brightfeather

Brightfeather was born Jim Sheedy and grew up in Syracuse, New York, during the late 1940s and 1950s. She strongly believes that the LGBT community must work closely to attain political and social equality for LGBT people. She discusses her activist work in the state, focusing on her interactions with Equality North Carolina and the Human Rights Committee. (Recorded in January 2002 for the SOHP Project, History of Gay Men and Transgender People in the South.)

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Interview #4: Mandy Carter 

Carter, a community organizer and activist, discusses the difficulties facing activists who can not afford health insurance and how they avoid seeking medical care.  (Recorded in July 2007 for the SOHP project, The Long Civil Rights Movement: Heirs to a Fighting Tradition). The Heirs Project explores the stories and traditions of social justice activism in North Carolina. These narratives capture the richness of a set of activists with powerful perspectives on social justice, political activism, and similar visions of the common good.

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Interview #5: Dr. Salter Cochran

Cochran and his wife, Doris Cochran, discuss their activism in the Weldon-Roanoke Rapids area of North Carolina. As they recall their decades of activism, they reflect on racism and justice, and they evaluate the successes and failures of the movement to which they contributed. This interview will provide readers with a great deal of information about race, desegregation, poverty, and health in North Carolina. (Recorded in April 1997 for the SOHP Project, Integration and Health Care in North Carolina.)

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Interview #6: Peter Datcher

Datcher’s interview centers on themes of family, farming, racism, and education. He speaks growing up as a black child on a farm, child labor on the farm, and local black farmers. Datcher remembers making moonshine; breeding cows and hogs; gender roles on the farm; training local children to work; hog killing time in the fall and on the Fourth of July; the Great Depression, and government assistance.

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Interview #7: Dr. Michel Ibrahim

Dr. Ibrahim attended the School of Public Health at UNC Chapel Hill as an epidemiology student in the early 1960s, returned as a professor in 1971, and later became chair of the epidemiology department and Dean of the School of Public Health. He discusses his early life in Egypt and his move to the US to attend UNC-CH in 1960. He talks about challenges he faced in the department. (Recorded in June 1989 for the SOHP Project on UNC’S School of Public Health.)

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Interview #8: Wendy Kuo

In this interview, Kuo discusses her childhood and entry into health work; knowledge of North Carolina health issues; her experiences and reflections as a University of North Carolina pharmacy student during a four-month rotation in the Tarboro Area Health Education Center (AHEC) in the fall of 1992; the future of AHEC. (Recorded in September 1997 for the SOHP Project, UNC North Carolina Area Health Education Center.)


Interview #9: Carolyn McAllaster

Carolyn McAllaster, a Clinical Professor of Law at Duke University School of Law in Durham, North Carolina, devoted significant effort and several years of her life to helping people living with HIV/AIDS in her community. McAllaster also notes her prior involvement with the NC Aids Action Network (NCAAN), a statewide HIV/AIDs advocacy group, and analyzes the stigmatization of people living with HIV/AIDS in both the U.S. overall and the South. (Recorded in July 2014 for the SOHP Project, LGBTQ Activism in the North Carolina Triangle Area.)

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Interview #10: Janawa McCaskill

McCaskill, a farmer from Lexington, Mississippi, discusses his interactions with the health care system as an African American and the impact of racism on the quality of care. McCaskill also spoke about his childhood growing up on a farm near Greenwood, Mississippi in the 1970s and 1980s. McCaskill also highlights the cooperative nature of black farmers in the rural South and their bartering system. (Recorded in June 2011 for the SOHP Project, Breaking New Ground.)

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Interview #11: Kanwal Rahman

Kanwal Rahman left Bangladesh for the United States in 1991, looking forward to earning a public health degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  In this interview, she reflects on her experience and her efforts at adjustment. One of the most difficult adjustments to make was embracing the American ethic of independence, the opposite of the interdependent posture she learned as one of five daughters of a very successful father.

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Interview #12: Dr. James Slade

Slade was the second African American to attend medical school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He started there in 1952, embracing the challenges and limitations of attending. He began private practice in Edenton, NC, in 1965, where for many years he was the only black physician. Slade, who is joined by his wife, Catherine, focuses on the challenges of medical care at the intersection of race, poverty, and rural isolation. (Recorded in February 1997 for the SOHP Project, Integration in Health Care in North Carolina.)

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Interview #13: Josephine Turner

Turner was born in Durham, NC, in 1927. At an early age, she experienced the sacrifices forced upon the poor, exemplified in her mother, who sought to impress the value of education though she herself never made it past the third grade. Turner left school and inherited her father’s job as a chauffeur at age fourteen. Her ambition placed her in unique positions: a black female chauffeur, a businesswoman, a political aspirant. (Recorded in June 1976 for the SOHP Project, Piedmont Industrialization, Durham, NC: 1974-1980.)

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Interview #14: Bill White

White, a forty-eight-year-old hairdresser from North Carolina, discusses how he was diagnosed with AIDS. (Recorded in October 2000 for SOHP Project, Life Review.)

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Interview #15: Louise Young

Young was born in Memphis, Tennessee in 1892. In 1919, Young accepted a position teaching at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia. She was later hired as the Dean of Women at the Hampton Institute in Virginia. Young describes her involvement with the Association of Southern Women for the Prevention of Lynching, and her support of labor activism. Young consistently emphasizes themes of social justice in relationship to race, gender, and class. (Recorded in February 1972 for the SOHP Project, American Women in Medicine.)

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