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Grassroots history

Not long ago I was in Richmond, VA to tape an interview with Liz Humes at WRIR and a talk about the Writers’ Project at the Fountain Bookstore. A lot of good questions, which you’ll get to hear when Book TV broadcasts the session sometime soon. 

For now just two: One questioner drew the link between the Writers’ Project and the recordings of folk songs and lore that came later, such as Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music, issued by Folkways in the 1950s. Another asked how a comparable attempt today at getting local history and people’s stories might get started. Libraries and their patrons — and the discussions and events this summer and fall — could be a good start. Many will include local historians talking about grassroots histories, and helping people record oral histories.
This Friday we head to North Carolina for a talk on WUNC’s The State of Things and a gathering at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh. See you there.

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