Stories from Stagville

 This posts showcases work made by 5th grade students in Lisa Lord’s classroom at Club Boulevard Humanities Magnet School in Durham, North Carolina. Last spring the fifth graders worked with Duke undergraduate interns in Literacy Through Photography,a class at the Center for Documentary Studies taught by Katie Hyde.

The collaboration built on the Durham students’ yearlong study of Historic Stagville, which contains the remnants of one of the South’s largest pre-Civil War plantations. The Bennehan-Cameron families’ Stagville plantation holdings included nearly 30,000 acres and 900 enslaved men, women and children. 

In addition to multiple visits to Historic Stagville in Durham, the Club Blvd students studied primary historical documents including the personal letters of the Bennehan and Cameron families, photographs and interviews with surviving ex-slaves collected in the 1930’s by the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

Based on their careful reading of these visual and written materials, each Durham student wrote about the life of one enslaved person through multiple perspectives—that of the enslaved person him or herself, that of a friend, and the perspective of a slave owner. Duke interns helped students video-record their performances as they spoke their historical fiction. Teams of students then edited and sequenced their material to create iMovies. Students’ iMovie stills and original writing, as well as archival materials were exhibited at Duke University’s Lilly Library.  The students’ powerful expressions and poignant writings illustrate their complex questions and discoveries. 

Work credits

1. Video still featuring Daijon McCathern.
iMovie made by  Daijon McCathern, Javae Pollard, Takayla Harris, Tristan Lopez and William Jackson.

2.Drawing and writing by Javae Pollard, William Jackson and Daijon McCathern.

3. Video still featuring William Jackson.

iMovie made by William Jackson, Daijon McCathern, Javae Pollard, Takayla Harris and Tristan Lopez.

4. Writing by William Jackson.

5. Video still featuring Melanie Hernandez Soria.
Archival photograph of Harriet Peaks Justice and daughter.
Writing by Matthew Sullivan.

6. Video still and writing by Daeza Brown.
iMovie made by Daeza Brown, Abraham Gonzalez Brindis, Jonathon Nunez Diaz and Hannah Lambeth.

7. Video still and writing by Estephani Sanchez Recendiz.
iMovie made by Estephani Sanchez Recendiz, Kelley Weeks Baines, Tony Davis and  Isabel Jernigan.

8. Video still featuring and writing by Carlos Carmona Ortega
iMovie made by Carlos Carmona Ortega, Lucy Trejo Fernandez, Travis Williams, Denella Ghebrehiwet.

9. Archival photograph of Doc Edwards.
Writing by Jessica Shaw.

10. Video still (top) featuring Nallely Garcia Delgado.
iMovie made by Nallely Garcia Delgado, Olivia Chapman, Rossember Merlos Campos

11. Portion of an interview transcript with Doc Edwards.
Interview conducted by the Federal Writers’ Project of the Works Progress Administration (WPA).

12. Video still and writing by Hannah Lambeth.
iMovie made by Hannah Lambeth, Jonathon Nunez Diaz,  Abraham Gonzalez Brindis and Daeza Brown.

13. Video still and writing by Jonathon Nunez Diaz.
iMovie made by Jonathon Nunez Diaz, Abraham Gonzalez Brindis, Daeza Brown and Hannah Lambeth.

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