by Jock Lauterer
Durham VOICE co-adviser
In an effort to record the authentic voices of their community, seven teenagers in Northeast Central Durham are searching this fall for diamonds in the rough. hometown heroes.
“Heroes In Our Midst: Our Village Elders,” aims to capture the life stories of aunts, uncles, moms and dads, grandparents, coaches and church leaders who have made a positive difference in their community.
Sponsored by the Northeast Central Durham Community VOICE in conjunction with SEEDS (South Eastern Efforts Developing Sustainable Spaces), the project will collect local narratives to be published in the online version of the Durham VOICE and later in hard copy when the VOICE adds its monthly print version in February 2010.
SEEDS kids participating in the oral history project include LaTasha McMillan, Vianey Martinez, Krystal Shelby, Sharada Fozard-McCall, Kamaia Aldridge, Damion Graves and Destiney Robinson.
Mentoring the SEEDS kids are journalism students from NCCU and UNC. While it is my distinct honor to lead this project, the SEEDS teens themselves are the real “tour guides” for this journey into the heart of Durham.
And as such, who better to tell the first story than Durham civil rights legend Ann Atwater?
The 74-year-old “lioness,” I call her, came to SEEDS last month and opened a window on the past while giving us an unforgettable lesson on life.
Although I’ve been teaching college for a number of years, I too never stop learning, and Ann Atwater proved to be apt teacher in her own right. It’s a safe bet that her inspiration will be the touchstone for this project as it moves forward. I can’t wait to see what the SEEDS kids come up with when it’s their turn to take the cameras and the tape recorders home.
Durham VOICE videographer Lisa Marie Albert captured the essence of our experience with Ann Atwater at SEEDS.