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University History & Oral History Projects

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Since 1999 the University Oral History Project has conducted interviews with alumni, faculty, staff, and administrators to preserve memories of the Fourth District A&M School (1906 - 1933), West Georgia College (1933 - 1996), and the State University of West Georgia (1996 – Present). We plan to continue to preserve the history and traditions of West Georgia as the centennial anniversary approaches in 2006. Through this research, we hope to capture personal memories and experiences as West Georgia changed through time.

 

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A & M students at work in front of the Administration Building from The Fourth District A & M School Announcement, 1912-1913 (WG Special Collections)  Students learn about domestic science.  From The Fourth District A & M School Announcement, 1913-1914. (WG Special Collections)  Norman Rockwel visits Oak Mountain School. (WG Special Collections) 
 


All interviews and related research documents and photographs are archived in the Center for Public History located in Pafford 207. We invite you to come by and see what we have accomplished, and we welcome your input on how we can continue to preserve the university’s rich history.

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If you are interested in participating in this project please contact the Dr. Rebecca Bailey, the Assistant Director for the Center for Public History. Or please call the Center for Public History at 678-839-6141.

Click here to view the University Oral History Project finding aid, which includes a list of all project interviewees and research materials.

Research materials include items donated to the Center for Public History such as memorabilia from the 1930s donated by Florine Watson Harper ('37) like a biology receipt, an invitation to a reception at President Ingram's home, and a Zeta Sigma Pi membership card. 1955 May Day Queen Jane (Hixon) Walker donated a photograph from the event. Mrs. Walker and her husband, Bob, (both are alumni) were interviewed in the Fall of 2002.

Recent Events:

In the spring of 2003, a reception was held for all project participants to formally thank them for their support of the project. It was an afternoon of swapping stories and meeting other alumni.
Click here to view photographs from the reception.

In October of 2003, Project Director Erin Brasfield participated in a panel presentation entitled "Oral Histories in the West Georgia Piedmont: Mills, Music, and More" at the Oral History Association Annual Meeting in Bethesda, Maryland. Ms. Brasfield's paper was entitled "Diversity Through Education: 'A Fountain of Life' at a College in the Country."

In the past several years, graduate and undergraduate students working in conjunction with the Center for Public History have engaged in a variety of historical projects in order to capture and present the history of the State University of West Georgia.

In 1998-9, Rebecca Lapczynski and Heather Bostwick designed and implemented exhibits that focused on the university's presidents and the years during which they served. These exhibits are located in buildings that have been named after these presidents, including the Ingram Library, Row Hall, Boyd Hall, Pafford Hall, and the Townsend Center for the Performing Arts.

Beginning in the Fall of 2001, students in the Introduction to Public History class have undertaken projects that facilitate the research, promotion, and promulgation of the university's history. Class projects have included proposals for the creation of a campus museum and the promotion of community through identifying and creating campus traditions. In the Fall of 2002, the class researched and developped a historic walking tour brochure of the campus. In the Fall of 2003, the class focused on African-Americans at West Georgia.

To present this history in video format, graduate student Mick Buck helped the university television studio in preparing a video documenting the history of the university in the spring of 2001.

In the spring of 2002, Trey Gaines completed and installed an exhibit on the Bonner House, an antebellum plantation house on the campus, which is located in Bonner Hall. This exhibit highlights research by former undergraduate student Amy Storey Simon and the archaeological investigation of the original Bonner House site by Dr. Ray Crook, from the Anthropology Program.