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Preserving Southern History

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History textbooks teach students about the catastrophic results of the economic crash during the Great Depression. What is missing all too often are the heart-touching and gut-wrenching personal accounts that Dick J. Reavis found in the  Southern Worker.

Reavis, associate professor in the Department of English, stumbled on the Southern Worker, an anti-racist newspaper from the 1930s, while he was conducting research for his book, “Catching Out; The Secret World of Day Laborers.”

Reavis was intrigued as he read the stories about — and letters from — poor southerners trying to survive the Great Depression, struggling against pitiful living conditions and awful labor standards.

“You get this touching and unfiltered horse’s-mouth report on the Great Depression. The journalist in me wanted to preserve that,” Reavis says. Over a three- year period, he and some of his students created an online archive of the Southern Worker that’s accessible to all.

See the full story, “Preserving Southern History,” in the NC State Bulletin.

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