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Oral History Interview with Dorothy Royster Burwell, May 29, 1996. Interview Q-0011. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • 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.
  • A dam displaces a community
  • A man-made lake wipes Sudan, Virginia, off the map
  • The government's power to take homes
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  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.