College Heights: A Community Story


This course will set the stage for a broader involvement by CDS Continuing Education in the College Heights neighborhood in the summer of 2017. This class will help empower the neighborhood to tell their own story, of a thriving Black middle class in the midst of urban renewal and disinvestment. Students will learn best practices in oral history and documentary work more broadly. Each student will develop a project, or work collectively with other students to create a collaborative project. Mixed media is encouraged! (16 hours/All Levels)

Benjamin Filippo is the executive director of Preservation Durham, and a PhD candidate in American Studies at UNC–Chapel Hill. He has worked on various community histories as a student and as a part of the Community Histories Workshop, where he is a graduate fellow.

Michelle Lanier is acting director of North Carolina’s African American Heritage Commission and Curator of Multicultural Initiatives with North Carolina’s State Historic Sites. She has been an instructor at CDS since 2000. She uses her background as an oral historian and folklorist to connect communities around personal narratives and cultural expression. She has traveled to Panama and Ghana to document African Diaspora funerary traditions, and her ethnographic work in a South Carolina Gullah community led to her role as a liaison to the Gullah-Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor. Growing up in a family that includes veterans of five American wars has inspired her current work, training students to collect veterans’ narratives.


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