As I was scrolling through the hundreds of life histories, I mindlessly picked ones with titles that stuck out to me or about interesting people. Somehow however, almost all of my life histories revolved around the world of agriculture– I read the narratives of white farmers, sharecroppers, turkey raisers, etc. This lead me to believe the Federal Writers Project made a conscious effort to curate the stories of an underrepresented silent majority. Oddly enough, it intrigued me that these narratives were interesting not only to me but a lot of others. The people that were interviewed seemed to refer to their lives as quite simple– living in bucolic areas, continuing the work of their fathers and grandfathers. Although set in different times, I saw similarities in my life histories and Little House on the Prairie– solely in the fact that such simple lifestyles are worth not only curating but reading.

Secondly, I realized that having a common theme in my life histories will help me when it comes to coding and tagging the documents as there would be a lot of overlap. This realization helped me notice other areas that would make organizing metadata for my life histories a lot easier– such as choosing ones that all took place geographically in the south.

About Makiah Belk

Study of the Americas
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1 Response to

  1. Daniel White says:

    I did the exact same thing with my life histories. I selected my life histories pretty randomly, but they almost all ended up being about agriculture. I agree and also think that it definitely has something to do with showcasing and telling the stories of an underrepresented majority in our nation during that time.

    It’ll be interesting to see everyone else’s stories in the class to see how they are either similar or different. I have a feeling a lot of the stories had to do with agriculture and not just ours.

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