Title: Oral History Interview with Dorothy Royster Burwell, May 29, 1996. Interview Q-0011.
Interviewer: McCoy, Eddie
Interviewee: Burwell, Dorothy Royster
Abstract: At the time of this interview, Dorothy Royster Burwell was living in what was once Soudan, Virginia, on the North Carolina-Virginia border. In this interview, she describes her family history and the displacement of area residents by dam projects. Burwell's community was washed away in the early 1950s by a man-made lake which covered African Americans' homes, shops, cemeteries, and farms. Burwell remembers a vibrant community; today, it is hard to find on the map. This interview shows what a powerful force water is, even under controlled conditions, clearing families from their homes and erasing communities; it also reveals the power of a government that can demand its citizens vacate their homes. Burwell's memory of Soudan helps keep the community alive.