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Oral Histories Brought to Life
Get a glimpse of life in West Virginia and the Kanawha Valley during FestivALL Fall ArtWalk.
Since 2015, Eric Douglas has been recording oral histories from Kanawha Valley residents about their lives and memories of the valley. He has recorded nearly 100 personal stories for FestivALL. He also photographed each speaker.
Students from the Lighthouse of Learning Academy have taken the oral history portraits and added their own artistic flair.
During the FestivALL Fall ArtWalk from 5-8 pm, you can listen to excerpts from several of those interviews at the FestivALL offices. There are listening stations with links to individual stories accompanying the student art interpretations.
- Danny Jones – His first baseball game at Watt Powell Park in the 1950s and getting separated from his parents.
- Harry Davis – Remembering the construction of Kanawha Boulevard in Charleston.
- Jack Smith – Downtown Charleston streets that don’t exist any longer.
- Joann Jones – Working at Kelly Axe on Patrick Street.
- Joanne Birurakis – Working at Stone and Thomas and opening Best of Crete.
- Lyle Sattes – Growing up on the East End and Kanawha City.
- Nemo Nearman – Founding B’nai Jacob Synagogue.
- Norma Sodaro – Attending nursing school and the nurse walk out from St. Francis.
- Ron English – Being the pastor at First Baptist in The Block.
- Terry Hess – Remembering the first season the Charleston Charlies played in Charleston. Attending games with his mother.
- Zerbe Swain – Racial discrimination in Charleston and not being allowed to eat ice cream in a downtown dairy.
This ongoing project is sponsored by FestivALL and the West Virginia Archives and History Library, West Virginia Division of Culture and History in the Culture Center.