Roots with Wings, a Floyd County Place-Based Education Project:: Intergenerational Connections

Floyd Story Center

Since 1998, a community oral history collection partnership of the Old Church Gallery, Ltd., Radford University’s Center for Social and Cultural Research, Honors Program, Scholar-Citizen Initiative, Appalachian Regional and Rural Studies Center, and Floyd County High School. Our archives now hold over 100 interviews.

In our Roots with Wings project, college mentors, high school staff, and community volunteers meet weekly during the school year to teach the discipline of oral history collection.

Students learn ethical, methodologically sound interview techniques, practice and complete several interviews, transcribe the audiotapes, create searchable content logs, archive interviewee resources and period photographs, learn the technology of audio and video recording, research historical backgrounds, acquire proficiency in iMovie and storytelling, and finally extract a theme from an hour long interview to create a seven minute movie production.

Thursday, April 25, 2019


Winding Up

Roots with Wings Team Members from
 the Floyd Story Center at the Old Church Gallery,
Floyd County Public Schools,
and Radford University
Melinda Wagner, Amanda Burroughs, Catherine Pauley,
Alice Slusher, Molly Cox, Vicky McAlexander, Kimberly Ingram
Shaylee Hodges, Sharmaine Ramirez, Cora Bland

The past few months have been extraordinary for us.  As a finale, on April 23 we four Radford University students were able to show off the Roots with Wings Project at the Student Engagement Forum.  We created a PowerPoint presentation of pictures from the Project and spoke about our experiences in Floyd County.  As we rehearsed the presentation, we realized that we became the most animated when we spoke about our wonderful interviewees.  All four of us were hosted by kind and gracious people from the community.  The Department of Sociology honored us with the Outstanding Research in Service to the Community Award for 2019.  With our Floyd County Public School teacher partners, we have created transcriptions, photographs, and interview summaries that will be archived at the Floyd Story Center at the Old Church Gallery.  We are proud to have been part of the Roots with Wings team.  Some of us might just have to become Floyd Story Center volunteers now!  Thank you for letting us be a part of this community.

Saturday, April 13, 2019


(FCHS art teacher, Kimberly Ingram
& RU student, Cora Bland,
interviewing Kimberly's father, Charles Kingrea)

Interviews to Hear and Read

Pairs of ROOTS WITH WINGS Floyd County Public School teachers and Radford University students interviewed Floyd County grandparents, in-laws, good friends, and dads.  After we interviewed we set to work diligently transcribing and reflecting on our experiences.  We learned that transcribing can run the gamut from phonetic spellings of dialect to converting to the elusive “standard English.”  We took a dialect quiz from the New York Times and got a kick out of the results.  We decided the quiz was a bit biased toward urban dwellers.  For example, when it came to this question, “What do you call the area of grass between the sidewalk and the road?,” we thought one of the multiple choice answers should be “had no sidewalk -- no need for this word.”  We would have added a few questions like, “What do you call a baby cow?” and “Is the way to your house a driveway, a boulevard, a lane, or a farm road?”  For our transcriptions we decided to take a middle ground that is readable, relateable, and respectful to what Appalachian scholar, Cratis Williams, called “a beautiful stream of speech.”  We are scanning and preserving photographs, too.  (See “The importance of saving stuff” from our last blog.)  The footprints of our interviews will include audio recordings, photographs, and transcriptions – treasures for families and for the community, conserved by the Floyd Story at the Old Church Gallery.  We Remember, We Collect, We Protect.

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Connecting with Our Community Partner

A Visit to the Old Church Gallery

     After everyone recovered from flu season and bad weather, we gathered at the Old Church Gallery for our weekly class.  For the Radford University students and some of the Floyd County teachers, this was our first time at the Gallery.  Some local Roots with Wings Project participants were pleased to point out displays of their own family’s crafts.  Alice Slusher's father, R.O., for instance, created the Gallery’s dancing dolls.  
One of Kathleen's favorite books:
Saving Stuff, Smithsonian Publications

     As we settled into a circle in the Gallery's exhibit room (surrounded by beautiful, early Floyd County baskets), we discussed the goals, outcomes, and twelve-year history of the project.  Kathleen Ingoldsby, our top-notch digital archivist, emphasized the importance of saving stuff and preserving history, topics she'd presented in her Ted-X Floyd talk, which can be seen here: 

     Catherine Pauley shared her own experiences with cultural anthropology and stressed the importance of conserving the cultures of Floyd County.  She reminded us that we'll preserve an artifact (our interviews), and then analyze the meaning of the artifact in relation to the culture.  Catherine, who once intended to be an archaeologist herself, said, “I did not expect that what I studied--what I have documented--would be my own culture.”  

I wish to remind everyone of the Old Church Gallery’s motto:  
We remember. We collect. We protect.   

     And, by the time this blog entry is posted, we should have completed our first oral history interviews.   Thank you for visiting, and stay tuned for our reports!

Blog Author:  Shaylee Hodges, Radford University

Monday, March 11, 2019

University mentors + high school teachers + non-profit =

2019 Roots With Wings Flies in a New Direction

Catherine Pauley shows a project interview binder presented to each interviewee.
   This semester the Roots with Wings:  Floyd County Place-based Education Oral History Project  switches things up, with Radford University students partnering with teachers from Floyd County High School to record and preserve local history.  After years of successful work with Floyd County High School and Radford University students, our project welcomes the unique perspective of Floyd County teachers, who lead the future of Floyd County youth with strong community ties. 

     In this version of the Project, Floyd County Public School faculty are obtaining professional development points toward teaching credential relicensure.  Radford University (RU) students are receiving course and internship credit in the Sociology Department and through the Citizen-Leader Program.  

       Radford University students have been meeting with the teachers weekly since January 30th.  As project leaders, Dr.  Melinda Wagner and Catherine Pauley have said, this is the vanguard for the future of this project, but is also returns to the roots of the project as it first began in 1998, when RU student interviews helped launch the oral history program.  
Recording Practice: from left: Kimberly Ingram, Amanda Burroughs, Cora Bland
   At our February 7th meeting, we paired up to practice audio recording with the trusty Marantz and the new Tascam recorders to prepare ourselves for the upcoming Spring oral history interviews.  We're all looking forward to discovering more about the unique community of Floyd and methods for conserving local history.