The Union Recorder

October 15, 2012

Grant-funded local project captures pieces of oral history

Felicia Cummings
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — The city of Milledgeville is rich in historical gold. Beautifully preserved buildings such as the Old Governor's Mansion reflect the vision of the city's founders to create a community that would serve as the permanent capital of Georgia, but these historical structures make up only a fragment of the city's immense history. Local residents have their own stories to tell about this city as well. 

The Knight Fund for Milledgeville of the Community Foundation of Central Georgia has provided a grant to Special Collections of Georgia College in support of the Milledgeville/Baldwin County Oral History Project. The purpose of the project is to document the history of the area. Personal experiences of accomplishment and hardship are but a few of the memories of the citizens of Milledgeville and Baldwin County. These individual accounts will be forgotten if not recorded for future generations to read and enjoy. The collection will feature narratives from local veterans, women, and African-Americans. 

“When painting a picture of the community's history these are the three groups we don't have much information on,” said Joshua Kitchens, archivist of Special Collections at Georgia College. “This project will help fill in the historical gaps and give us a complete picture.”

The project began with a fall kick-off reception with guest speakers and an opportunity for interviews at Digital Bridges, a community focused project of Georgia College with funding from the Knight Foundation. The fall kickoff was Sept. 7, during Milledgeville Mainstreet's First Friday festivities. Guest speakers included Dr. Mark Huddle, Georgia College associate professor of history, and Dr. Bob Wilson, Georgia College, history professor. 

Kitchens will be the guest speaker at the Learning-in-Retirement Writers' Group at 3 p.m. Thursday at the First Presbyterian Church. He will give details about the project and the process of collecting and recording stories of interest by local residents. 

“This is an exciting opportunity,” said LIR facilitator Mary Purcell. “We have a large collection of stories from our group members who have personal knowledge of the historical changes that have taken place right here in Milledgeville.”  

Ethelene Jones, assistant facilitator, extends a special invitation to those who have stories they would like to share to attend this session and learn more about the project. 

Oral history interviews will be conducted through June 2013. Walk-in interviews are available at Digital Bridges Knight Community Innovation Center, located at 127 W Hancock St. 

“The interviews recorded in this project will be transcribed and available in hard-copy form and online for the easiest researcher access possible,” said Kate Pope, Special Collections staff member and project coordinator. “The goal of this effort is to not only record these histories but to make sure that citizens know about them and are able to use them effectively.”

To schedule an appointment or to assist in the preservation of these narratives contact Pope at or call (478) 445-0098 for more information. 

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