Foxfire COVID-19 Oral History Project

As public historians and folklorists, we have a responsibility (and interest!) to capture history as it happens around us, and to engage the community in that pursuit. In light of the current coronavirus pandemic and trend of “social distancing,” we are turning to you, our community, to help us document this moment in history. We at Foxfire are launching a campaign to collect oral histories via crowdsourcing. The project will run from March 17, 2020 to June 30, 2020, with possible extensions. The project is collecting self-recorded testimonies from individuals, families, or groups located within Southern Appalachia. Using digital technologies will support quarantine efforts, but attempt to cross barriers imposed by “social distancing.” It will also contribute to the historical record, and provide early records of the event. A follow-up capture of oral histories will take place in summer/fall 2020.

What is oral history?

Oral history is, broadly, the transmission of personal or community-based experiences through stories, songs, narratives, folklore, etc. In more formal terms, it is the recording, preservation and interpretation of historical information, based on the personal experiences of the narrator.

Learn more here.

How to participate:

We want to hear from you! If you live in Central/Southern Appalachia, or are from the region (West Virginia, Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama), consider sharing your experiences with the COVID-19 outbreak and craze through a self-recorded oral history. We are looking for testimonies/oral histories related to the virus.

Participation is easy. Simply consider the questions included in this document and reflect on our recent experiences. Then, record yourself (on your phone, on your computer, etc.) speaking about those experiences. Feel free to have family members or close friends join you in a conversation. (See following pages for instructions with multiple individuals). Recordings up to 25 minutes will be accepted. Anything past this time length will not be accepted.

Once you’ve recorded, make sure your audio file is a .mp3 or .wav. These are the only file types that will be accepted. Compress file and email to with subject heading “COVID-19 OH Project Submission.” In your email, include completed release form and additional information form.

More information:

Learn more about the project here.

Each audio recording must have an accompanying release form.

Additional information provides helpful metadata for future research!