One of the joys of doing work with communities local to the Southern Oral History Program is the number of connections that spring up. After attending a presentation on the progress of Back Ways via the UNC Institute for African American Research Brown Bag series, a geography colleague in attendance realized that her parents live just down the road from Harvey’s Chapel, a church located out in the county (Orange) with a rich history that had been touched on in the presentation.
Through email and face-to-face interaction, we have had the opportunity to learn about academic work involving diverse subjects like children’s books and participatory mapping, as well as longstanding personal ties that all soundly relate to the nearby rural Orange County communities with which Back Ways works. We are grateful for those who have and who will make personal connections with the project. As we progress with coding, designing, and planning for the digital component of Back Ways, we are reminded to respect the local relationships and community ties that help make Back Ways an important endeavor. We look forward to learning of more Orange County connections as the project develops.