COVID-19 Oral History Project

Foxfire is teaming up with Blue Ridge Public Radio to collect memories, photographs, and artifacts related to the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 and 2021. Share your experience and help write history!

How to Participate

We want to hear from you! If you live in Southern Appalachia, or are from the region (West Virginia, Southern Virginia, Eastern Kentucky, Western North Carolina, Eastern Tennessee, Northern Georgia, Eastern South Carolina, Northern Alabama), consider sharing your experiences with the pandemic through a self-recorded oral history, journal entry, or visual media.

Participation is easy. Follow the steps outlined in our toolkit and consider the questions included here. If you choose to submit an oral history, 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. Recordings up to 25 minutes will be accepted. For other types of media, please provide Word docs, PDFs, or .jpg images.

Then, just fill out this release form and optional additional data form. Send your audio/image/document with completed forms to, subject line “COVID-19 OH Project Submission.”

When you look back on it, we were scared, even though I don’t want to live in that fear.

I want to live in trust.

Make an Impact

People who remember their past are more resilient.” -Barry Stiles, Curator

Your story will become part of the permanent historical archives at Foxfire. These stories, images, and artifacts will be used for future education and research. Our shared experiences not only help us preserve our culture, but build resilience in our communities.

Your contribution to this project has the potential to be featured on BPR or Foxfire’s podcast “It Still Lives,” published in the Foxfire  magazine, or become part of a Foxfire book.

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. As historians, we have a responsibility (and interest!) to capture history as it happens around us. In light of the current pandemic, we are turning to you to help us document this moment in history. This project collects self-recorded testimonies from individuals, families, or groups located within Southern Appalachia.

Watch this short video on how to record your own oral history!