South Georgia Folklife Radio Project (
Final Report, FY98-0209-FOLKLIFE GRANT
Georgia Council for the Arts Folklife Program
Submitted by Laurie Kay Sommers, Project Director,
NARRATIVE DESCRIPTION OF COMPLETED PROJECT
1.† What authentic aspects of
The project funded new and
follow-up fieldwork with a variety of individuals in south
Georgia in preparation for a 13-part radio series titled "
David and Clarke Lee,
Tollie Lee, originally from rural Brantley County but now living in Callahan, FL; elder of the Sardis and Piney Grove Primitive Baptist churches, discussed hymn lining and Lloyd hymnal singing, as well as hollering
Bernice Chesser Roddenberry and† daughter Judy Drury, Folkston; documented making palmetto brooms for the annual Chesser Homestead Open House at the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, and also singing their own style of sacred harp along with Roddenberry's other daughters
Jack Roddenberry, Folkston;† makes "gater poacher' wooden boats and also continues the tradition of hollering; son of Bernice Roddenberry
Roxie Chesser Crawford , St. George; raised in the Okefenokee and an invaluable source for Okefenokee lifeways
Alton Carter, Folkston;
lifelong turpentiner and currently one of the few active turpentiners left in
Elliot West, Folkston; lifelong turpentiner, currently in the employ of Alton Carter
Henry Rutland, Thomasville; fourth generation fiddler who knows a number of old regional tunes as well as country and bluegrass; nephew of Georgia Slim Rutland; current head of South Georgia Grass, a bluegrass band that plays for hunting lodges during the season
DC Watkins, Valdosta;† founder of the Mt. Zion Music Hall in rural Lowndes County which hosts weekly jams of old-time country, bluegrass, and gospel
Red Lindsey, Adel;† long-time fiddler and current member of Pullen Grass
Linda Paulk, Willacoochee; owns Puddin' Creek Cane Syrup
Inez Paulk, Willacoochee; retired farmer and turpentiner, father-in-law to† Linda Paulk; mentored her in syrup making
Maria and Josť Ruiz, Willacoochee and Colima, Mexico; resident workers at Linda and Warren Paulk's farm; assist with syrup making, among other things.
Robert E. Deatherage, Nashville and North Carolina; partner in Planter's Warehouse and excellent source for oral history and personal experience narratives of Georgia/North Carolina tobacco connection
Lewis Watson, Sr.,
Elder Ervin Peterson,
Lonnie and Mary Johnson,
The Voices of Harmony,
Additional recording was done
at the Fiestas Guadalupanas in
2.† What did this grant allow you to accomplish that you might not have been able to do otherwise?
This grant funded further
fieldwork with a variety of important south Georgia
traditions.† In addition, it facilitated
a working partnership with producers Melissa Gray and Teresa Sanders at Peach
State Public Radio in
3.† Explain how this project contributed to the public's understanding of folk art/ folklife.† Describe cultural interpretation provided.
The radio series to air
beginning this coming September on Georgia Gazette will reach a large audience
4.† Describe how folk cultural specialists were involved in planning and implementation of the project.†
Wiregrass Ways was researched and written by Dr. Laurie Sommers, a Ph.D in folklore who has worked in public sector folklore since 1982.† In 1995 she initiated the South† Georgia Folklife Project.
5. How was the project received?†
The series has not yet aired, and copies of the series were just recently mailed to all traditional artists involved.† There has not yet been time for extensive feedback.† Thus far, the direct only comment I've received is a phone message from CE Pullen:†† "I got your tape, and it was fantastic."
1.† DAT and CD copies of
2.† Scripts enclosed
3.† Copy of letter mailed to all individuals featured in the series enclosed
4.† Project PR submitted to Maggie Holtzberg in May
5.† Letter from Brian Adler regarding Honors Program presentation enclosed
6.† Field documentation to be submitted under separate cover as discussed with Dr. Maggie Holtzberg