Memory Minutes

Video Still

Since 2008, the Traditional Voices Group (TVG) has been dedicated to gathering oral history in Yancey and Mitchell Counties. For generations, the people of the Appalachian Mountains lived outside the written American historical narrative, yet they transmitted their cultural values to succeeding generations through stories, tales, and songs that demonstrated community standards, morals, and beliefs in memorable ways. The art of storytelling in this region is our birthright. We collect and recount stories that help us know who we are, remember where we come from, and gain hope for where we are going. The stories that TVG collects through its oral history program are edited and described as “Memory Minutes” that are broadcast daily on the local radio stations WKYK and WTOE at regular times.

For several years, we funded these collecting activities through a Senior Service America grant. That grant has run out, but we still have a significant number of potential informants to interview, which we are attempting to accomplish through a volunteer committee. Time is of the essence in this project. The aging subject pool is shrinking and life ways are changing rapidly due to the pace of modern development.

The following short video was produced to demonstrate the use of our collections of Memory Minutes.

This Memory Minutes video is indeed a local effort. Artist John Doyle, whose painting supply the visuals, was instrumental in the formation of the Traditional Voices Group. Each image, taken from his Appalachian series, has a Memory Minute voice-over. The male narrator is former Burnsville Mayor Danny McIntosh; the female voice is Bunnie McIntosh. The music was written and performed by Ron Powell and videographer Tracy McAuliffe put it all together beautifully.