High Point University history professor Paul Ringel wanted to give his students a lesson in local history that took them beyond traditional sources and into the very community they were studying. He led students through an oral history project in which they interviewed community members about their experiences living through and participating in the civil rights movement from the base of William Penn High School, which was then a segregated, African-American institution. The oral history project introduced students to archival research and interviewing skills while expanding their understanding about a neighborhood they rarely visit, despite its proximity to campus.
Host Frank Stasio talks with Ringel about the project and what he hoped both students and community members would gain from it. He also speaks with Erin Flynn, an Americorps VISTA volunteer who participated in the project as a sophomore. And he speaks with Hank Pressley, a former student at William Penn, about that tumultuous time in our nation’s history and how it impacted students in High Point.