Oral histories are focus Wednesday as Table Talk concludes memoirs theme

February 23, 2013 7:51:24 PM



On Wednesday, Feb. 27, Mississippi University for Women professor Dr. Erin Kempker will be the speaker for Friends of the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library's Table Talk: A Casual Visit With Books.  


Last year Dr. Kempker directed students enrolled in her African-American history class with a project that sought out, listened to and recorded stories of community members who witnessed a special period of history. As those active in the events of the 1950s and 1960s grow older, it becomes increasingly important to gather their stories.  


Table Talk committee member Dr. Kim Whitehead, a colleague of Dr. Kempker's at the W, had this to say of the project, "Dr. Kempker and her students recognized that people at the grassroots make history, too, and their stories are worth telling, hearing and preserving. The students' interviews help us understand the making of the civil rights movement, not in Montgomery or Birmingham, but right here in Columbus."  


Fortunately society is conscious of the importance of recording the voices and stories of the past for the future. Each of these valuable recorded interviews is now permanently housed at the Local History Room of the Columbus-Lowndes Public Library.  


Dr. Kempker said, "There is often a gap between what historians want to know and what the historical record (as preserved by previous generations) can reveal. Luckily, at least for 20th century historians, there is oral history to help fill in what traditional sources leave out."  


Join the Friends of the Library in an informal discussion of the importance of preserving our stories for others. Bring lunch at 11:30 a.m. to socialize. Iced tea is always served. The program will begin at noon and will last one hour. Table Talk is held in the second floor meeting room of the library located at 314 Seventh St. N. Everyone is invited to come. There is no charge.