Southern students are working with the City of Chattanooga Mayor’s Council for Women and other local colleges to collect oral histories from a broad range of notable women in Chattanooga. With the goal of gathering 200 stories, the project titled “Telling Herstories” has collected 90 interviews so far — 60 conducted by Southern students.
“We are so pleased to connect students with people in the community because it is making our neighborhood stronger, while contributing toward intellectual inquiry and further research,” said Lisa Clark Diller, ’96, Ph.D., professor of history and political studies at Southern, and member of the Council for Women.
Southern students first became involved in 2016. As part of the project, Abby Jansen, senior history major, was able to conduct interviews with three key leaders in the Chattanooga area. Her time with these women gave her insights on how they raised their kids, the type of education that had been available to them, and the types of things they had been encouraged to do or not to do throughout their lives.
“Working with prominent women in Chattanooga has allowed me to learn from the community, while simultaneously seeking to benefit it by recording these valuable stories,” Jansen said.
Carolyn Runyon, a member of the Mayor’s Council for Women, has been impressed with the work Southern students have put into this project.
“They are conscientious interviewers who have provided hours of interviews that document the rich and vital history of women in Chattanooga,” Runyon said. “They approach difficult topics, such as segregation and inequality, with poise and professionalism.”
The project is scheduled to conclude in 2020, but as interviews are processed, they can be heard at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga’s digital collections library online. Currently the archive includes the stories of at least 15 local Adventist women.
Southern Adventist University | May 2018