Southern Appalachian Migration Archive
Max Fraser is a recipient of travel funds from the Collaborative to broaden his dissertation project, “The Hillbilly Highway: A Social History of Transappalachia, 1918-1974”. The Southern Appalachian Migration Achieve is an ongoing oral history project devoted to preserving the accounts of natives of southern Appalachia who migrated to the industrial Midwest during the middle decades of the twentieth century.Millions of people traveled between the two regions during these years, mainly in search of better-paying jobs in northern factories, but also to keep together families and communities that were becoming increasingly “inter-regional” as a consequence of this migration.
Building off the oral histories that he conducted in the course of his dissertation research, the Migration Archive will be the largest such collection specifically devoted to first person accounts of Southern Appalachian migration to the Midwest to exist anywhere in the region. At its most basic, the Migration Archive will take the form of interviews with migrants and their family members, which will be preserved and made accessible to students, faculty, and researchers in digital audio formats, as well as print transcriptions. These interviews will serve as the basis for the development of additional classroom and online learning tools related to Southern Appalachian history and regional migration patterns. The growing field of Digital Humanities in particular presents a range of opportunities for using the data collected in these interviews to provide a hands-on and innovative pedagogical experience for Sewanee students pursuing a minor field in Southern Appalachian Studies, or simply learning more about the history of their neighbors and the local area. GIS-mapping series, digitalization and transcription technologies, oral history and other community-based learning strategies are just a handful of the ways in which the Migration Archive precept can function as a multimedia educational tool, in addition to its primary function as a repository and research archive.