Published Date

January 1, 2000

Resource Type

For Departments, For the Classroom, Program of Study

This resource was developed as part of the Migration and the American South project.


Preston Mosley

Preston Mosley was born in Townsville, a small rural community north of Henderson (Vance Co.), NC. He left Vance County in 1953 and moved to New Jersey where he lived for 39 years. When he retired, he returned to Vance County.
An Interview with Preston Mosley

Ronel Cook

Ronel Cook was born in West Virginia where his father was a coal miner.  Both his father and mother had migrated to West Virginia from Alabama by way of North Carolina.   The Cooks, like many African Americans living in the South, moved to New York in the 1950s.  Ronel Cook moved back to the South in the 1990s to Henderson, NC (Vance Co.).
An Interview with Ronel Cook

Donna Dodson

Three of Donna Dodson’s grandparents moved from North Carolina to New Jersey in the late 1920s, a part of the “Great Migration” of African Americans out of the South.  She was born and raised in New Jersey.  In the early 1980s she felt called by her church (Jehovah Witnesses) to move to Warren County, NC to assist a struggling church there.  She lives on land in Warren County that she acquired from her great uncle.
An Interview with Donna Dodson

Ed Currin

Ed Currin was a retired Granville County farmer when he was interviewed in 1939. He was something of an eccentric, but the interview does provide us with details about farming, tenancy, and racial attitudes.  It also gives us insights into the mentality of  a member of the larger farmer class.  In the interview Currin is called Josh Dover and Granville County is referred to as Duncan County. Source: American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940, (Library of Congress).

Congresswoman Eva Clayton

Ms. Clayton lives in Warren County, NC and represents the first district in Congress.  She participated with Floyd McKissick in the Soul City project (in Warren County) in the 1970s.  The project was a federally funded effort to build a “model town” that would attract business and industry to the area.  Warren was particularly hard hit by out-migration and poverty, and the “Model Towns” program was designed to assist areas suffering from these problems.
An Interview with Eva Clayton

The Renns

Wesley Renn and other members of the Renn family were interviewed in 1938.  Wesley Renn was a cotton mill worker, a career he began with other members of his family in Henderson, NC (Vance County).  His father was a farmer (a sharecropper) and Renn still saw himself as a farmer even though he had worked in mills most of his life. This interview provides insights into the movement of Southern whites from the countryside and farming to towns and mill work. Source:  American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940, (Library of Congress).

John Pierce

John Pierce was interviewed in 1938.  His father had owned a farm in Warren County which he lost. The family then went from farm to farm working as sharecroppers.  In Pierce’s words “I got tired of that and when I got to be my own man I come to the mill.”   Like the interview with the Renns, this interview captures the movement of poor, rural whites to the towns and mills of the South.  Source: American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project, 1936-1940, (Library of Congress).