Memory Minutes

Memory Minutes, an Oral History Project

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.

A short video was produced a few years ago to demonstrate the use of our collections of Memory Minutes: video link.