Black Carolinians Speak

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This is an especially difficult period for all residents of our state.  African Americans, as reported in state and national media, have been disproportionately impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying social and economic distress it has caused.  The pandemic has also exacerbated existing inequalities and disparities in education, health, and employment. Future generations will likely seek to understand how this global pandemic redefined what it meant to be Black in North Carolina and how the crisis altered the rhythms and traditions of African American life in our state.

The goal of this initiative—Black Carolinians Speak: Portraits of a Pandemic—is to gather first person testimonies, letters, music, images, art and other documents that capture the experiences of African Americans in North Carolina during the global pandemic.  Unlike earlier pandemics, such as the 1918 Spanish Flu, we have a unique opportunity to share and preserve stories documenting how African Americans in North Carolina lived, connected, loved, found hope, and survived a public health crisis.  

What effect has this pandemic had on your personal life, family, business, church, organization, or community?  What feelings are you experiencing?  How have these changes affected your political or economic outlook?  How have you or others in your community showed resourcefulness or learned new skills as you have adjusted to the crisis?  What advice would you give to others who may face similar crises? 

Feel free to use these questions as prompts for your response.  Such insights are essential to creating a powerful narrative of how African Americans in North Carolina experienced this historic moment.  Please upload your experiences to our database and share your thoughts with future generations.

Ways to share your story:

  • Personal accounts
  • Photographs
  • Recordings
  • Oral histories
  • Journals and diaries
  • Create artwork


This work is supported by the 1772 Foundation and presented by the NC African American Heritage Commission, the State Archives of North Carolina, and the WeGOJA Foundation.