Freedom, Hard Times, and Tall Tales: Local Stories from WPA Slave Narratives by Andrienne Berney
Held May 4, 2022 Carrboro, NC and Online

The collection commonly known as the WPA Slave Narrative contains histories provided by formerly enslaved people undertaken by the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration from 1936 to 1938. Twenty-one of those interviewed had lived in Durham and Orange Counties in slavery and/or freedom. Most recalled invasions by both Confederate and Union troops and conditions after emancipation. New online research tools allow us to build fuller biographies of some of these oral history subjects, including one Chapel Hill native who performed as an Ethiopian princess

Speaker Biography
Adrienne Berney serves as outreach coordinator for the State Archives of North Carolina. She has worked in statewide field services for history and collecting organizations for the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources since 2010 and joined the Archives’ staff in 2020. With a background as a museum objects curator and historian, Berney coordinates the Traveling Archivist Program, the Federation of N.C. Historical Societies, and DNCR’s Cultural Resources Emergency Support Team. She grew up in the Virginia mountains, attended the College of William & Mary as an undergraduate, and completed her doctorate as a Hagley Fellow at the University of Delaware.