September 11, 2009
Elizabeth Blevins, Director, Office of Communications
Office: (740) 351-3810; FAX: (740) 351-3179; Cell: (740) 464-4854
940 Second Street – Portsmouth, Ohio 45662
Web site: www.shawnee.edu
‘Voices of a
People’s History’ Dramatization at Shawnee State University
faculty, student and staff members will perform “Voices of a
People’s History: Readings from the WPA Oral Histories” at 7
p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 17 in the Kahl Theater at Shawnee
State University’s Vern Riffe Center for the Arts. The Work
Projects Administration (WPA) was from 1936-1940. The
program is free and open to the public.
Feight, associate professor in social studies at SSU, will
play the part of one of the Federal Writers Project workers
who conducted the interviews.
program is meant to highlight the work of the WPA’s Federal
Writers Project that included some 4,000 interviews,
including 2,300 that were with African Americans who had
been born into slavery,” Feight said.
O’Neil, of South Shore, Ky., will read the part of James
Childers who was born and raised in Kentucky on the Ohio
River. Matt Matthews, SSU’s coordinator of Multicultural
Affairs, will read the part of Charles Anderson, a former
slave who fought in the Union Army during the Civil War and
settled in Cincinnati after his emancipation. Aundrea “Drea”
Perkins, SSU student, will play the part of Temple Cummins,
a former slave who lived her life in Texas. Brian Richards,
a local poet and adjunct English professor at SSU, will read
the part of an anonymous New York street poet-intellectual.
project, “Born in Slavery: Slave Narratives from the Federal
Writers’ Project, 1936-1938” at the Library of Congress
offers more than 2,300 typewritten narratives comprising
more than 9,500 page images with searchable text and
bibliographic records, and more than 500 photographs of
former slaves with links to their corresponding narratives.
Approximately two hundred of the photographs are in an
online collection and have never before been publicly
project was compiled and transcribed by the staff of the
Folklore Project of the Federal Writers’ Project. The
Library of Congress collection includes 2,900 documents
representing the work of more than 300 writers from 24
states. Typically 2,000-15,000 words in length, the
documents consist of drafts and revisions, varying in form
from narrative to dialogue to report to case history. The
histories describe the informant’s family education, income,
occupation, political views, religion and mores, medical
needs, diet and miscellaneous observations.
of a People’s History: Readings from the WPA Oral Histories”
is part of a series of public programs being produced with
the financial support of a “Soul of a People” grant from the
National Endowment for the Humanities and the American
Library Association. Connie Stoner, director of Clark
Memorial Library, is directing the grant and Feight is the
grant’s lead scholar.
Photo of Charles Anderson, a former slave who fought in the
Union Army during the Civil War and settled in Cincinnati
after is emancipation. Matt Matthews, coordinator of
Multicultural Affairs at Shawnee State University, will
portray Anderson in a special dramatization, “Voices of a
People’s History: Readings from the WPA Oral Histories.”
Also in the production are Andrew Feight, associate
professor in social studies at SSU, Eric O’Neil, of South
Shore, Ky., Aundrea “Drea” Perkins, SSU student, and Brian
Richards, a local poet and adjunct English professor at SSU.