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Berea College

Posted on Wednesday, October 31st, 2007.

For our Tuesday field recording, facilitators Yuki and Quentin drove two hours southeast of Louisville to Berea College, a unique place to study and live. Berea is a tuition-free university, primarily for students who come from Appalachian communities throughout the US. The college was founded in 1855 as the first interracial and coeducational school in the South. Students can choose to work regular on-campus jobs or study with a master craftsman to learn traditional Appalachian woodwork, pottery, and weaving, which is sold at their campus store. It was hard to leave Berea; it is an institution that doesn’t seem institutional, it just seems like a great place to live and learn. Best of luck to our contact, Tim Jordan, and everyone else in Berea!

A student (above) at work at one of the looms in Berea’s weaving studio (below)

Some scrap fabric from the weaving studio

The library’s sound archivist, Harry Rice, gave us a tour of Berea’s amazing online catalog, which is the most extensive sound archive in Kentucky and houses old field recordings of traditional Appalachian musicians, storytellers, Baptist preachings, and historical Kentucky radio broadcasts. In the photo above, Harry shows us musical notation done by one of Berea’s Appalachian Music Fellows of a traditional fiddle tune that had never been written down before. Many of the recordings were transfered from the original acetate disks to digital, and have a beautiful quality to them.

Listen to the archives here.

A local farmer unloads vegetables grown on the Berea College Farm

The sun sets on twin stone silos on the drive back to Louisville.

2 Responses to “Berea College”

To preserve the StoryCorps mission and experience for our readers and participants, comments are subject to the StoryCorps Terms of Service. Comments may be held for moderation or removed if deemed offensive or off-topic. Please do not resubmit your comment if you don't see it right away, it will be approved as soon as possible. Thank you.

  • the scars of the segregation is still visible in the south specially and in other places i think, we still have a long way in front of us, but your article is very inspiring:) and who knows maybe in the end we all will be 1 race and racism will be gone

    Comment from devon wright on January 28, 2008 at 9:59 am - Reply to this Comment
  • Yuki and Quentin…

    I’m SO glad you made it to Berea. It’s quite a place and quite a story. I’m guessing you didn’t want to leave it!

    Happy holidays!


    Comment from gail strong on December 7, 2007 at 5:06 pm - Reply to this Comment

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