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The Behind the Veil Oral History Project was undertaken by Duke University's Lyndhurst Center for Documentary Studies in 1990. It seeks to record and preserve the living memory of African-American life during the age of legal segregation in the American South, from the 1890s to the 1950.

The Behind the Veil: Documenting African-American Life in the Jim Crow South Records span the years 1940-1997 (bulk 1993-1997) and are comprised chiefly of interviews recorded on cassette tapes. The 1260 interviews, 1993-1997, in this collection cover a number of topics related to African-American life in the 20th century with a focus on the age of southern segregation. The collection includes interviews with people from Albany, Ga.; Fargo, Ark.; Birmingham and Tuskegee, Ala.; Charlotte, Durham, Enfield, New Bern and Wilmington, N. C.; LeFlore County, Miss.; Memphis, Tenn.; Muhlenburg County, Ky.; New Iberia and New Orleans, La.; Norfolk, Va.; Columbia, Orangeburg, St. Helena, and Summerton, S. C.; and Tallahassee, Fla. In addition to interviews conducted specifically for the Behind the Veil project, the collection includes six interviews from the James City Historical Society, Craven County, N.C. as well as eight interviews conducted by Paul Ortiz in Tallahassee, Fla., in the summer of 1997 as part of his dissertation research.

The collection includes duplicate sets of approximately 1700 interview tapes. The Master Tapes Series is closed except for appropriate use by authorized staff from the Behind the Veil project and the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. The Use Tapes Series contains copies of the tapes for use by researchers. The Printed Materials Series provides biographical information about informants, interview agreement forms, proper names sheets, and brief summaries (one-three pages) of each of the 1260 interviews. Also included are some personal papers, the earliest of which is dated 1940. The Transcripts Series currently includes unverified transcripts of 314 interviews in the collection. These transcripts are also available as electronic documents. A disk directory log exists. Contact Research Services staff for more information. More transcripts will be available each semester.

The Behind the Veil collection will eventually include approximately 5100 photographs and slides. This Visual Materials Series will contain items donated by informants and others in the communities where Behind the Veil field-workers conducted interviews. The vast majority of these pictures show family and community members at home or at special events. A smaller number portray buildings and other local places. Images of political events are notably rare in the collection. We also anticipate the eventual addition of the Behind the Veil project's papers, which will be held as the Administrative Files Series.

Behind the Veil interviewers were provided with a list of Interview Questions before they entered the field. Although most interviews in the collection do not follow the list question by question, the list provides a useful research guide to the type of inquiry many interviews follow. The list of questions is included as an appendix in this guide. Frequently discussed topics include family history, local neighborhoods, educational background, employment history, religious institutions, experiences of segregation, local political activities, civic organizations and activities, black-owned businesses and local culture. Behind the Veil informants represent a number of occupational groups, including domestic workers, educators, homemakers, health professionals, manufacturing workers, miners, ministers, political figures, professionals and servicemen.

Database:

A Behind the Veil Database, created by Alex X. Byrd, will soon accompany the collection. The fields included are in two categories: Informant and Circumstance of Interview. The Informant fields are Last Name, First Name, Middle or Maiden Name, Sex, Zip Code, Date of Birth, Place of Birth, and Principal Occupations. The Circumstance of Interview fields are Date of Interview, Location of Interview, Processing Subseries, and Interviewers. The other fields are: was the informant part of a group interview?; has the interview been transcribed?; if part of a group interview, under whose name is the material filed?; number of tapes for interview.

Consult reference staff concerning the availability of the database.

The addition (acc# 2001-0183)(100 items, 1.5 linear feet; dated 1996-1997) includes a course syllabus, interviews of African-American North Carolinians on cassette tapes, some student self-evaluations, contracts, indices, and transcript excerpts. The area most represented is Durham, N.C. Students were to aim for insight into how African-Americans built communities during an age of racial oppression. The interviews include much information about family history and social and community issues.

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The photographs of Cedric N. Chatterley span the years 1983-2013, and were created throughout his career as a documentary photographer, beginning with his MFA thesis project on religious experience in the U.S. The photographs are primarily black-and-white prints ranging in size from 8x10 to 18x24 inches. The most prominent themes in Chatterley's work are labor, community, and religious expression. He has photographed chicken slaughterhouse workers in Maine; Cambodian immigrants in North Carolina; David "Honeyboy" Edwards and other Southern blues musicians in Mississippi and on tour; a substance abusers' rehabilitation community in Durham, N.C.; tornado survivors in South Dakota; an abandoned religious theme park in Connecticut; and sheep rancher Judith Fae "Pachy" Burns in Montana. Some of his documentary work also includes oral history interviews. There are also several recordings of interviews with Chatterley, where he speaks about his work as a documentary photographer, and a book by Barbara Lau containing his photographs of Cambodian immigrants. Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

The photographs of Cedric N. Chatterley span the years 1983-2013, and were created throughout his career as a documentary photographer, beginning with his Master in Fine Arts thesis project, "Ambivalent Ecstasies/Converging Energies," on American religious experience. The photographs are primarily black-and-white gelatin silver prints ranging in size from 8x10 to 18x24 inches.

The most prominent themes in Chatterley's work are labor, community, and religious expression. He has photographed chicken slaughterhouse workers in Maine; Cambodian immigrants in North Carolina, a project undertaken with Barbara Lau of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University; David "Honeyboy" Edwards and other Southern blues musicians in Mississippi and on tour; a substance abusers' rehabilitation community in Durham, N.C., also with Barbara Lau; tornado survivors in South Dakota who rebuilt their town over a period of ten years; Holy Land USA, an abandoned religious theme park in Connecticut; and a woman sheep rancher's work during lambing season in Montana. Some of the images were taken with Chatterley's hand-built cameras.

A final series consists of materials relating to Barbara Lau's book, From Cambodia to Greensboro, documenting Cambodian immigrants in North Carolina, that includes images taken by Chatterley, and a set of recorded interviews from 2008 in which Chatterley speaks about his career as a documentary photographer. The cassettes have been converted to digital files and use copies are available for access. Original recordings are closed to use.

Series are arranged in chronological order; prints are numbered and captioned by the photographer.

Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

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Tom Rankin photographs and papers, 1977-2016 33.5 Linear Feet — 28 boxes; 2 film reels — Approximately 13,650 items — 33.5 linear feet; approximately 13,640 items

Tom Rankin is a documentary photographer, filmmaker, folklorist, professor of art and documentary studies, and former director of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Collection consists of 147 black-and-white and color photographs documenting the American South and China. Photographs from the South focus on religious sites, rituals, and communities in the Mississippi Delta region, as well as portraits of individuals, including portraits of Mississippi writer Larry Brown, and Southern landscapes. An additional documentary project from 2016 took Rankin to China, where he photographed semi-rural landscapes, often taken with high-rise buildings in the far distance or adjacent to industrial structures, as well as bridges and rivers, markets and live fish vendors, and a few street scenes. Finished prints range from 8x11 inch contact prints to 11x14, 16x20, and 20x24 large-format prints. Supporting materials include manuscripts, publications files, and two films, all deriving from Rankin's career and art practice. Includes a digital audio recording of a talk by Rankin at the exhibit opening of his work, "Near the Cross: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta." Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.

The photographic work of Tom Rankin in this collection consists of 147 black-and-white and color photographs documenting the American South and China. Southern photographs were taken from 1980 to 2007, and focus on religious sites, rituals, and communities in the Mississippi Delta region; these prints form the largest series, "Sacred Space." Another body of work features portraits of Mississippi writer Larry Brown. A third body of work, "Portraits from the American South," offers views of Southern people, cultures, and landscapes in both color and black-and-white.

An additional documentary project from 2016 took Rankin to China, where he photographed semi-rural landscapes, often taken with high-rise buildings in the far distance or adjacent to industrial structures, as well as bridges and rivers, markets and live fish vendors, and a few street scenes.

Print sizes range from 11x14, 13x19, 16x20, and 20x24 inches, with many housed in window mats. Along with these prints, there are also 8x11 inch black-and-white matted contact prints. All titles were created by the photographer.

Selected photographs from this collection have been exhibited at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke and other locations. A selection of Rankin's photographs was published in a book, Sacred Space: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta (1993).

Supporting materials in this collection include a digital audio recording of a talk by Rankin at the exhibit opening of work from the Sacred Space series, "Near the Cross: Photographs from the Mississippi Delta," as well as paper records related to his career and art practice, including book publications and book layouts. Also in the collection are two motion films, Dance Like a River (1985), directed by Barry Dorfeld and Tom Rankin, and Four Women Artists (1977), directed by Bill Ferris.

Acquired as part of the Archive of Documentary Arts at Duke University.