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Collection Number: 04007D

Collection Title: Southern Oral History Program Collection, Series D: Rural Electrification, 1984

This collection has access restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.

This collection has use restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.


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Size 44 interviews
Abstract The Southern Oral History Program conducts and collects interviews with Southerners who have made significant contributions to various fields of human endeavor. In addition, the Program undertakes special projects with the purpose of rendering historically visible those whose experience is not reflected in traditional written sources. The Southern Oral History Program Collection, Series D: Rural Electrification contains interviews conducted in 1984 by staff of the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives, about the difference electricity made in the daily lives of rural people. The project was designed to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the Rural Electrification Administration in 1985.
Creator Southern Oral History Program.
Curatorial Unit University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.
Language English.
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Information For Users

Restrictions to Access
Some interviews are closed as noted.
Restrictions to Use
The Southern Oral History Program (SOHP) welcomes non-commercial use and access that qualifies as fair use as stipulated by U.S. Copyright law to all unrestricted interview materials in the collection. The researcher must cite and give proper credit to the SOHP. The SOHP requests that the researcher informs the SOHP as to how and where they are using the material. Please use the online form available on the SOHP site to request permission and inform the SOHP of your use.
Preferred Citation
Interview with [interviewee name] by [interviewer name], [interview date] [interview number], in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Series D: Rural Electrification (04007D), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Example: Interview with John Costan by Larry Johnson, 22 June 1984 (D-0009), in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Series D: Rural Electrification (04007D), Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Provenance
Transferred from the Southern Oral History Program beginning in the 1970s.
Additional Descriptive Resources
Database: A searchable database of all Southern Oral History Program interviews is available at http://www.lib.unc.edu/dc/sohp/. Patrons may keyword search the database by: (1) Abstract; (2) Transcript; (3) Interviewee name; (4) Interviewer name; (5) Interview number; or (6) Subject term. Patrons may browse the database by: (1) Interviewee name; (2) Interviewer name; (3) Interviewee occupation; (4) Interviewee ethnicity; or (5) Project.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Processing Information

Finding aid for Series D created and encoded by Laura Hart in December 2016. Interview abstracts compiled by Trista Reis Porter in November 2016.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Subject Headings

The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Historical Information

In 1973, the History Department of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill established an oral history program devoted to the study of the southern region of the United States.

The Southern Oral History Program collects interviews with Southerners who have made significant contributions to various fields of human endeavor. In addition, the Program undertakes special projects with the purpose of rendering historically visible those whose experience is not reflected in traditional written sources. Interviews are conducted by Program staff, graduate students, faculty members, and consultants. The Program also serves as a collecting agency, accepting donations of tapes and transcripts of interviews conducted by other researchers.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The Southern Oral History Program, Series D: Rural Electrification contains recordings of interviews that were conducted in rural areas of North Carolina for the fiftieth anniversary in 1985 of the Rural Electrification Administration. The project of the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives explored the impact electricity had made in the daily lives of rural people. Respondents described ways they completed household and farm chores heated their homes, read and studied at night, and performed other everyday tasks before electricity. Most respondents also discussed the origins and development of their local electric cooperatives.

ONLINE INTERVIEW DATABASE

Click here for the online, sortable list of oral history interviews in this series. Each interview is cataloged in the interview database with descriptive information about the interviewee and the contents of the interview. Transcriptions and audio recordings for many of the unrestricted interviews are available in this online database.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse D. Rural Electrification, 1984.

Interviews, conducted in 1984 by staff of the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives, about the difference electricity made in the daily lives of rural people. The project was designed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the Rural Electrification Administration in 1985.

ONLINE INTERVIEW DATABASE

Click here for the online, sortable list of oral history interviews in this series. Each interview is cataloged in the interview database with descriptive information about the interviewee and the contents of the interview. Transcriptions and audio recordings for many of the unrestricted interviews are available in this online database.

D-0001 Interview with Yates Abernathy, 1984

Yates Abernathy, white farmer, discusses life in Vale, Rutherford County, N.C., in the Appalachian region of the state, including petitioning for and receiving electricity in the late 1940s, and the positive and negative changes that came with it, including more jobs and farm production, easier household chores, and less community interaction and time spent in nature with interviewers Harry Wilson and Gordon McDaniel. 23 August 1984

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D-0002 Interview with Lois Barham, 1984

Lois Barham, white homemaker, with interviewer Lorrie Constantinos. 15 October 1984

Closed. No release form received.

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D-0003 Interview with David Bateman, 1984

David Bateman, white farmer, discusses life in Tyner, Chowan County, N.C., including receiving electricity in 1947, the belief of power companies that poor farmers wouldn't have a use for electricity, his feelings about it at the time, and the positive and negative changes that it brought, including quicker and cheaper agricultural production, easier household chores, running water, greater free time, less community interaction, less reliance on fresh food, and a less wholesome diet with interviewer Larry Johnson. 1984

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D-0004 Interview with Kitchin W. Benson, 1984

Kitchin W. Benson, white farmer, with interviewer John N. Davis. 21 August 1984

Closed. No release form received.

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D-0005 Interview with Lena Boyce, 1984

Lena Boyce, white farmer, discusses her childhood in Rehoboth, Northampton County, N.C., marriage to her childhood friend, memories of life before and after receiving electricity, including Rehoboth Methodist Church and recreation before electricity, the installation of wiring and electrical lines, acquiring appliances, her involvement with the women's auxiliary of Roanoke Electric, and the ways electricity changed their way of life with interviewer Sue S. Beal. 16 October 1984

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D-0006 Interview with Louise M. Case and L. C. Case, Jr., 1984

Louise M. Case and L. C. Case, Jr., white teachers and farmers, discuss their childhoods and family backgrounds, his father's first car, social activities such as visiting neighbors, his work with the United States Army Air Corps during World War II, receiving electricity, the power suppliers Delco Plant and Heywood EMC, his role in getting electricity, prices for wiring and electrification, power outages, and positive and negative changes it brought for food preparation and preservation, laundry, using appliances, time management, and community life with interviewer Bonnie Bishop. 19 June 1984

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D-0007 Interview with Shirley Collier, 1984

Shirley Collier, white farmer, discusses family background, memories of first receiving electricity and running water on her family's farm in Fayetteville, N.C., in 1945, differences in availability of electricity availability at school and their farm, children's excitement about electricity, aunt's opposition to electric light but not the radio, the radio as a gathering place, and changes it brought for food preservation, personal hygiene, and improvements in school grades because of extended study and reading hours with interviewer Renate Dahlin. 4 June 1984

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D-0008 Interview with Shirley Colter, 1984

Shirley Colter, white homemaker, discusses strict upbringing on grandparents' farm, the treatment of black field hands and her grandfather's relationship with black tenant families, relationships between husbands and wives including between her parents and grandparents, memories of her grandmother's clothes, food preparation by women, men and women's chores during tobacco harvest and the separation of male and female spheres as teamwork, corn crop, joining cotton picking gangs with her sister, father's slow paralysis, and the lack of sex education for children with interviewer Renate Dahlin. 1 July 1984

Closed. No release form received.

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D-0009 Interview with John Costan, 1984

John Costan, white electrician, with interviewer Larry Johnson. 22 June 1984

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D-0010 Interview with Munsey T. Crouse and Waine Crouse, 1984

Munsey T. Crouse and Waine Crouse, white farmers, discuss life in Alleghany County, N.C., before and after Blue Ridge Electric, growing up on a farm, the time spent on everyday chores such as washing and ironing clothes, heating the house, preserving food before electricity, his father's building of a water wheel with a generator to provide electricity to several houses in town, the growth of his operation to provide power from Elkin to Roaring Gap, N.C., and the selling of it to Carolina Power Company with interviewer Una R. Edwards. 3 October 1984

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D-0011 Interview with H. E. Daughtry, 1984

H. E. Daughtry, white teacher, discusses childhood on a farm, memories of petitioning for and receiving electricity at his home and school in Perquimans County, N.C., positive and negative changes electricity had at home and at school such as the use of fans, serving breakfast and lunch, and playing football at night, and the reduced community interaction because of things like television with interviewer Larry Johnson. 6 June 1984

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D-0012 Interview with Fredda Davis," 1984

Fredda Davis, white farmer, discusses life in the Nathan's Creek area of Ashe County, N.C., inheriting her family farm, life before electricity, the community's petitioning for electricity and the lack of interest of major power companies, the founding of Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation, and the changes that electricity brought for farming, milking cows, food preservation, easier household chores with electric appliances, greater leisure time, improvements in medicine and healthcare including lower infant mortality rates and increased lifespans, longer school years, greater engagement with the outside world, and increased college enrollment with interviewer Ruth Dasmann. 26 September 1984

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D-0013 Interview with Hugh Dryman and Mrs. Hugh Dryman, 1984

Hugh Dryman and Mrs. Hugh Dryman, white farmers, with interviewer Bonnie Bishop. 18 June 1984

Closed. No release form received.

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D-0014 Interview with James Ellen, 1984

James Ellen, white electrician, discusses his work with Halifax EMC as an electrification adviser, deciding how to properly wire properties, teaching owners how to efficiently use electricity, early wiring for electricity in eastern North Carolina in 1939 and stalled installation because of World War II and its demand for resources, perspectives of electricity as a luxury for Depression-era folks, complaints about electric bills, and his thoughts regarding the need for greater regulation of power companies with interviewers Tom Canady and Undine Barnhill. 15 August 1984

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D-0015 Interview with Mrs. W. D. Elliott, 1984

Mrs. W. D. Elliott, white homemaker, discusses memories of receiving electricity at her house in Chowan County, N.C., in October 1946, changes it brought for her work and her husband's farm, introduction of electrical fences and appliances, differences in cooking, washing, ironing, storing and preserving food, cleaning, and gardening, increased leisure time and reduced community interaction, and different effects electricity had on younger and older generations with interviewer Larry Johnson. 1984

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D-0016 Interview with Murray Fleming, 1984

Murray Fleming, white farmer, discusses his life as a farmer in Scotland Neck, Halifax County, N.C., his early rejection of electricity in 1939, failed attempts to receive electricity in 1942 after buying his farm and getting married because of the lack of resources during World War II, final success in getting electricity in 1946 after digging holes for power poles and positioning the poles with the help of his neighbors, and petitioning for the co-op to send an electrician to wire the house, life before electricity including pumping his own water, using a kerosene-powered refrigerator, and cooking with oil, and the ease of life after electricity despite the high electric bills with interviewer Tom Canady. 1 August 1984

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D-0017 Interview with John Gilis and Bill Moore, 1984

John Gilis and Bill Moore, white farmers, with interviewers Bonnie Bishop and Renate Dahlin. 29 July 1984

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D-0018 Interview with John McNatt Gillis, 1984

John McNatt Gillis discusses his experiences as one of the founding members of the Lumbee River Electric Membership Corporation, banding together of people who wanted electricity in their town, traveling to Washington, D.C., obtaining funds from the Department of Agriculture to set up the co-op, finding additional members, hosting electricity fairs, and popular perceptions of the co-op as a socialist institution during the McCarthy era with interviewer Lane Hudson. 1984

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D-0019 Interview with John Godwin, 1984

John Godwin, Lumbee farmer, discusses childhood on his father's farm in Pembroke, N.C., one of the few places in Robeson County to get electricity before World War II, installation of electricity in other homes in the 1940s with the founding of the Lumbee River Electric Membership Corporation, life before electricity including fireplace heating, cooking on a wood stove, and using an outhouse, outside washtub, and open well for water, and changes after receiving electricity including running water, electric refrigerators, more time for reading, and greater access to the outside world through electric radios with interviewer Renate Dahlin. 27 June 1984

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D-0020 Interview with Quinton Hussey, 1984

Quinton Hussey, white electrician, discusses his work as the former manager of members' services at Randolph Electric Membership Corporation (REMC) in Randolph County, N.C., REMC's role in the certification of Gold Medallion homes, history of REMC, desire for lights, educating of citizens, improvements that electricity bought for farming such as watering chicken houses and milking cows, and REMC's selling of appliances with interviewer Dave Rowe.

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D-0021 Interview with Maggie Jones, 1984

Maggie Jones, white farmer, discusses travel before cars, advent of electricity in Allegheny County, N.C. in May of 1939 and its effects on milking cows, reading, education, washing dishes, and other household chores, and the effects of radio and television with interviewer Una R. Edwards. 21 October 1984

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D-0022 Interview with Mrs. Leatherwood Haywood, 1984

Mrs. Leatherwood Haywood, white homemaker, with unidentified interviewer. 1984

Closed. No release form received.

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D-0023 Interview with W. Sam Long, 1984

W. Sam Long, white electrician, discusses his early interest in electrical work, apprenticeship and licensure in 1940, experiences as one of the first electricians in Perquimans County, N.C., work for Albemarle Electric Corporation, efforts to talk people out of their fears of electricity and teach them to use their new appliances, wiring of electricity in the Albemarle region after World War II, and the few changes in the job itself since he first started aside from new tools with interviewer Larry Johnson. 25 October 1984

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D-0024 Interview with Henry P. Lucas, 1984

Henry P. Lucas, white corporate director, discusses his work as former director and board member of the Four County Electric Membership Corporation in Burgaw, N.C., efforts in the area to get electricity after Carolina Power & Light turned down their requests to put lines up, their receiving of electricity before copper shortages during World War II forced the co-op to stop wiring houses, equipment used for installing electricity in the early days, the positive effects electricity had for dairy farming and household chores, and the changes it brought for entertainment with interviewer Cathy Johnson. 9 November 1984

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D-0025 Interview with Dema Reeve Lyall, 1984

Dema Reeve Lyall, white teacher, discusses her upbringing in the mountains of North Carolina before and after electricity, father's work growing corn and raising cattle, memories of having a telephone before electricity, having electricity at school before her house, working on the farm at a young age, differences in farming brought about by electricity, the impact of electricity on work and health because of refrigeration, hot water, and indoor plumbing, and hearing news of the 1928 presidential election two weeks later because of slow news travel before electricity with interviewer Ruth Dasmann. 5 September 1984

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D-0026 Interview with J. C. Brooks, Ralph W. Dean, Elaine Marion, and Joe Pendry, 1984

J. C. Brooks, white farmer, Ralph W. Dean, white farmer, Elaine Marion, white homemaker, and Joe Pendry, white railroad employee with interviewer Bill Marion. 17 October 1984

Closed. No release form received.

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D-0027 Interview with Bill Moore, 1984

Bill Moore, white electrician, discusses his experiences as a former employee of the Haywood Electric Membership Corporation, co-op's history and the work involved in getting electricity to homes in rural North Carolina after Carolina Power & Light refused to provide it, federal government support after World War II for co-ops and the installation of electricity, improper installations and resulting fires and explosions early on, education of electricians and homeowners, community efforts to help clear land and dig holes for power poles, and changes in leadership at the co-op and electricity by the time of the interview in 1984 with interviewer Bonnie Bishop. 1 August 1984

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D-0028 Interview with Mrs. A. D. Morgan, 1984

Mrs. A. D. Morgan, white business owner, discusses life before and after electricity, methods of refrigeration, food preservation, and laundry before electricity, arrival of television after, and perception of changes in society over her lifetime including the reduced social interactions at the time of the interview in 1984 with interviewer Bonnie Bishop. 8 June 1984

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D-0029 Interview with Alvin Morrison, 1984

Alvin Morrison, African American farmer, discusses his life in Iredell County, N.C., growing up on his parents' farm without electricity, receiving of electricity at his house in 1939, difficult childhood working on the farm, mother's constant cooking to feed large family, changes in cooking methods that electricity brought, history of electricity in his area, role of J. C. Jones in founding the co-op when Duke Power refused to install lines to rural homes, and positive impact of electricity on his poultry production with interviewer Robert M. Rhodes. 23 October 1984

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D-0030 Interview with Nathan Murray, 1984

Nathan Murray, white farmer, discusses his childhood and life on a farm in Duplin County, N.C., growing corn and tobacco and raising chickens, helping on his father's farm as a child, advances in farming with and without electricity such as the ease of fixing equipment and providing for more chickens, and differences between household and farming electrical equipment with interviewer Cathy Johnson. 14 June 1984

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D-0031 Interview with Sam H. Oswalt, 1984

Sam H. Oswalt, white farmer, discusses his life as a farmer in Iredell County, N.C., before receiving electricity, intensive farm and house work, efforts to get electricity in his area in the 1930s when Duke Power refused to install lines, bargaining with the Cornelius Electric Membership Corporation (EMC), improvements in farming, food preservation, and running water that electricity brought, and the politics behind Cornelius EMC with interviewer Robert M. Rhodes. 19 September 1984

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D-0032 Interview with A. C. Patterson, 1984

A. C. Patterson discusses his life in Macon County, N.C., efforts to get electricity in his area in the 1930s and 1940s, shortage of materials prior to and during World War II, refusal of Nantahala Power and Light Company to install lines, his forming of a co-op with neighbors, signing people up for electricity, and the man and horse-powered digging of holes and installation of power poles with interviewer Bonnie Bishop. 1 August 1984

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D-0033 Interview with Hubert R. Prevatte, 1984

Hubert R. Prevatte, white farmer, discusses his life as a farmer in Robeson County, N.C., before and after electricity, parents' perception of electricity as a luxury that they didn't need, refusal of Carolina Power and Light Company to install power lines, formation of the Lumbee River Electric Membership Corporation, efforts to recruit members to the co-op, put up lines, and wire houses, and changes in food storage and farming with electricity with interviewer Rose G. Prevatte. 19 June 1984

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D-0034 Interview with Hubert R. Prevatte, 1984

Hubert R. Prevatte, white farmer, discusses his life as a farmer in Robeson County, N.C., before and after electricity, efforts of leaders and progressive farmers in the area to get electricity in the 1930s by forming a co-op, impact of electricity on farming such as easier chores and greater access to information, parents' raising of fowl without an incubator or mechanical device and refusal to get electricity because they saw it as a luxury rather than a necessity, and his overall positive perception of electricity with interviewer Rose G. Prevatte. 27 November 1984

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D-0035 Interview with Gwyn Price, 1984

Gwyn Price, white school principal, discusses his work on the advisory committee in 1938 to interest people in Caldwell Mutual (Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation), past and current politics involved with starting the co-op, popular perceptions of the co-op as a Communist organization, feelings about the federal government, impact of electricity on making women's home lives easier, and his perception of rural electrification as an ongoing process in western North Carolina. 1984

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D-0036 Interview with Douglas M. Robinson, 1984

Douglas M. Robinson, white program coordinator, discusses his life in western North Carolina, receiving electricity at the start of World War II, the formation of the French Broad Electric Membership Corporation, setting up of power lines and involvement of Northwest Utilities, efforts of businessmen in the state to shut down co-ops, refusal of larger power companies to run lines to rural areas, and nostalgia for the "good old days" with interviewer Lorrie Constantinos. 19 November 1984

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D-0037 Interview with Bob Simmons, 1984

Bob Simmons, white farmer, discusses his early work for the railroad, returning to eastern North Carolina after it received electricity, positive impact of electricity on the ease of life, work, and farming, and his work as manager of Halifax Electric Membership Corporation with interviewer Helen Fleming. 1 August 1984

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D-0038 Interview with Linwood Stephenson, 1984

Linwood Stephenson, white man, with interviewer Lorrie Constantinos. 15 October 1984

Closed. No release form received.

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D-0039 Interview with V. E. Taylor, 1984

V. E. Taylor, white manager, discusses his experiences as manager of Roanoke Electric Membership Corporation in eastern North Carolina, formation of the group as part of the Farm Security Administration in 1939 when Vepco would not install electricity in rural areas, politics of getting electricity and getting people to sign up for it, manpower involved in installing lines, and impact of World War II on installation efforts with interviewer Sue S. Beal. 25 June 1984

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D-0040 Interview with Cecil E. Viverette, 1984

Cecil E. Viverette, white electrician and manager, discusses his life in Rocky Mount, N.C., electrical engineering degree from North Carolina State College (now North Carolina State University), work for the electricity utility business in the state, impact of World War II on power line installation efforts, differences between Blue Ridge Electric Membership Corporation and Randolph Electric Membership Corporation including the distance between power lines and power sources, important leaders in the North Carolina electric co-op movement including Harry Caldwell, Kerr Scott, and Gwyn Price, work with the North Carolina Association of Electric Cooperatives, and his assistance starting a co-op in Santa Cruz, Bolivia with interviewer Cornelia B. Austin. 9 October 1984

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D-0041 Interview with Al Wall, 1984

Al Wall, white man, with interviewer Dave Rowe. 26 June 1984

Closed. No release form received.

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D-0042 Interview with Gerald Whitehurst, 1984

Gerald Whitehurst, white public officer and politician, discusses his work as commissioner for Carteret County, N.C., receiving of electricity in Carteret County in 1940, refusal of Tidewater Electric to run lines in the area, impact of the bridge connecting Harker's Island to the mainland, positive effects of electricity such as the ease of housework and preserving food, improvements in education with extra reading time and greater access to the outside world, improvements to the fishing and boatbuilding industries, rural politics, and impact of the Great Depression on the area with interviewer Mark Davies. 24 May 1984

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D-0043 Interview with Eva Williams and Oral Yates, 1984

Eva Williams and Oral Yates, white teacher and railroad employee, discuss their memories of electricity coming to Hollister County, Va., refusal of private companies to install power lines, washing and ironing clothes, and using outhouses and wood-burning stoves before electricity, memories of their first electrical appliance, a Montgomery Ward refrigerator, improvements electricity brought to farm work, access to radio and television, and the introduction of new industries with interviewers Byrnes Wilcox and Rose Colliness. 1984

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D-0044 Interview with Pearl Yates, 1984

Pearl Yates and Oral Yates, white teachers, discuss their work as teachers and memories of electricity coming to their area of western North Carolina, positive effects electricity brought such as fewer hours spent doing household chores, cooking, washing clothes, and storing food, process of getting electricity after Carolina Power and Light refused to install power lines in rural areas, formation of the co-op, campaigning door to door for co-op membership, and Oral's perception of nepotism on the co-op board with interviewer Bonnie Bishop. 29 May 1984

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