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Collection Number: 05407

Collection Title: Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977

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This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the section for more information.


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Size 47 items
Abstract Theodore Rosengarten (1944- ) graduated from Amherst College in 1966 and received his Ph.D. in American civilization from Harvard University in 1975. In 1969, in the course of his research on the Alabama Sharecroppers Union in Tallapoosa County, Ala., he met African American farmer Ned Cobb (1885-1973), a former member of the Union. Rosengarten recorded a series of oral histories with Cobb and his family. These interviews were edited and re-ordered by Rosengarten for his book All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw (1974). The collection consists of 47 audiocassette tapes, most of which contain interviews conducted by Theodore Rosengarten with Ned Cobb and other members of the Cobb family. The interviews describe Cobb's life as a sharecropper, then independent farmer, in east-central Alabama, his involvement with the Alabama Sharecroppers Union, his 12-year imprisonment for shooting at sheriff's deputies intent on seizing a neighbor's livestock, and his life after leaving prison. Included are 18 tapes of interviews with Ned Cobb, 20 tapes of interviews with his family, and five tapes of interviews with unidentified persons. There is also a small number of tapes containing music and other recordings.
Creator Rosengarten, Theodore.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
Use of audio materials may require production of listening copies.
Restrictions to Use
No usage restrictions.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings #5407, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Transfered from the Southern Folklife Collection to the Southern Historical Collection in December 2008 (Acc. 101036).
Custodial History
Theodore Rosengarten's audiocassettes were damaged in flooding associated with Hurrican Hugo in 1990. The tapes were brought to Wilson Library and washed and re-recorded by Mike Caey and graduate student Patrick Sky. These copies were donated to the Southern Folklife collection. They were transfered to the Southern Historical Collection in 2008.
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Theodore Rosengarten (1944- ) graduated from Amherst College in 1966 and received his Ph.D. in American civilization from Harvard University in 1975. In 1969, while working on his Ph.D., Rosengarten researched the Alabama Sharecropper's Union in Tallapoosa County, Ala. In the course of his research, he met African American farmer Ned Cobb (1885-1973), a former member of the Union. He went on to record a series of oral histories with Cobb and his family. These interviews were edited and re-ordered by Rosengarten for his book, All God's Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw (Knopf, 1974), which won the National Book award in 1975. Rosengarten went on to teach history at various institutions including the University of California, Irvine; the College of Charleston, and the University of South Carolina.

All God's Dangers describes Ned Cobb's life in Tallapoosa, Ala. His father was a former slave and tenant farmer. Ned Cobb began sharecropping on his own at age 19 and was eventually able to purchase his own land and become prosperous. In 1931, he joined the Alabama Sharecroppers Union, which was associated with the American Communist Party and fought for the rights of sharecroppers to sell their own crops and deal directly with banks. In 1932, sheriff's deputies came to seize livestock belonging to Cobb's neighbor, a fellow Union member. In the attempted to stop them, Cobb fired at the deputies, for which he was spent 12 years in prison. All God's Dangers also describes Cobb's life after leaving prison as he adjusted to the changes in argiculture that had occured and to living with his adult children.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

The collection consists of 47 audiocassette tapes most of which contain interviews conducted by Theodore Rosengarten with Ned Cobb and other members of the Cobb family. These interviews were used as the basis of Rosengarten's book All God's Dangers, which describes Cobb's life as a sharecropper in east-central Alabama, his involvement with Alabama Sharecroppers Union, his 12-year imprisonment for shooting at sheriff's deputies intent on seizing a neighbor's livestock, and his life after leaving prison.

Rosengarten's original recordings consisted of more than 60 hours of interviews with Ned Cobb and an unknown number of hours of interviews with members of his family, including his children and second wife. The 47 tapes represent a portion of the original interviews. There are 18 tapes of interviews with Ned Cobb, 20 tapes of interviews with his family, and five tapes of interviews with unidentified persons. There is also a small number of tapes with music and other recordings.

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Contents list

expand/collapse Expand/collapse Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977.

47 items.

Titles and additional information in the list below was transcribed from audiocassette labels.

Audiocassette FT-6190

Interview with Ned Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6190

Session 1, 22 June 1971

Audiocassette FT-6185

Interview with Ned Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6185

Side 1 unlabeled

Session 2, 30 August 1971

Audiocassette FT-6165

Interview with Ned Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6165

Session 3, 30 June 1971

Session 4, 30 June 1971 continued on 2 July 1971

Audiocassette FT-6153

Interview with Ned Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6153

Sessions 4, 12 July 1971

Session 5, 12 July 1971

Audiocassette FT-6154

Interview with Ned Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6154

Session 6, 9 July 1971

Session 7, 13 July 1971

Audiocassette FT-6177

Interview with Ned Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6177

Session 8, 20 August 1971

Audiocassette FT-6179

Interview with Ned Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6179

Side 1 unlabeled

Session 9, 19-20 July 1971

Audiocassette FT-6151

Interview with Ned Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6151

Session 13, 3 August 1971

Audiocassette FT-6150

Interview with Ned Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6150

Session 14, 6 August 1971

Session 15, 7 August 1971

Audiocassette FT-6164

Interview with Ned Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6164

Session 23, 22, September 1971

Session 24, 23 September 1971

Audiocassette FT-6166

Interview with Ned Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6166

Side 1, unlabeled

Session 26, 9 September 1971

Audiocassette FT-6162

Interview with Ned Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6162

Readings by Theodore Rosengarten, undated

Session 27, 11 September 1971

Audiocassette FT-6178

Interview with Ned Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6178

Side 1 unlabeled

Session 28 September 1971

Audiocassette FT-6168

Interview with Ned Cobb, undated. #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6168

Audiocassette FT-6170

Interview with Ned Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6170

Side 2 blank

Audiocassette FT-6175

Interview with Ned Cobb, undated #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6175

Audiocassette FT-6176

Interview with Ned Cobb, undated #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6176

Audiocassette FT-6186

Interview with Ned Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6186

Side 1 unlabeled

Side 2 blank

Audiocassette FT-6155

Interview with Paul Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6155

Session 1, 21 June 1971

Session 2, 24 June 1971

Audiocassette FT-6156

Interview with Paul Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6156

5 April 1971

Session 6, 5 July 1971

Audiocassette FT-6152

Interview with Paul Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6152

Session 7, 12 July 1971

Session 8, 22 July 1971

Audiocassette FT-6157

Interview with Paul Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6157

With Eddie Kendall, undated

1 July 1971

Audiocassette FT-6181

Interview with O.C. Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6181

Session 1, 3 July 1972 Detroit Mi.

Side 2 unlabeled

Audiocassette FT-6173

Interview with O.C. Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6173

Side 1: interview with unidentified male

Side 2: O.C. Cobb session 3, 10 July 1972

Audiocassette FT-6171

Interview with O.C. Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6171

Session 4, 11 July 1972, Detroit Mi.

Side 2 blank

Audiocassette FT-6148

Interview with Edgar Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6148

Philadelphia, Ala., 1 March 1971

Audiocassette FT-6183

Interview with Edgar Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6183

Session 3, 25 March 1972

Session 4, 26 March 1972

Audiocassette FT-6174

Interview with Loreen Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6174

Side 1: interview with unidentified male

Side 2: Coreen Cobb session 2, 29 November 1971

Audiocassette FT-6189

Interview with Loreen Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6189

Session 3, 3 December 1971

Side 2 blank

Audiocassette FT-6184

Interview with L.G. Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6184

Session 2, 8 July 1971

Side 2 unlabeled

Audiocassette FT-6187

Interview with L.G. Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6187

Side 1 unlabeled

Session 4, 9 September 1971

Audiocassette FT-6180

Interview with Lisa Cobb Holland #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6180

Session 3, 9 August 1971

Session 4, 16 August 1971

Audiocassette FT-6191

Interview with Lisa Cobb Holland #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6191

undated

Audiocassette FT-6169

Interview with Annie Ruth Cobb Hill #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6169

Side 1 unlabeled

Side 2, Annie Ruth Cobb Hill session 2, 9 December 1971

Audiocassette FT-6159

Interview with Roberta Cobb #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6159

Side 1, unlabeled

Session 2, 1 September 1971

Audiocassette FT-6149

Interview with Caludie Mae Hutchenson, 22-23 March 1972, Brooklyn, N.Y. #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6149

Audiocassette FT-6182

Interview with Lorenzo "Pipa Davis" #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6182

Session 1, 9 July 1977, Birmingham, Ala.

Side 2 unlabeled

Audiocassette FT-6188

Interview with one of Ned Cobb's daughters #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6188

Audiocassette FT-6167

Interview with unidentified woman #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6167

Side 2 blank

Audiocassette FT-6193

Interview with unidentified woman, undated. #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6193

Audiocassette FT-6194

Interview with unidentified person talking about baseball, undated #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6194

Audiocassette FT-6195

Interview with unidentified person, undated #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6195

Canton, Ohio.

Audiocassette FT-6192

Work gang / Sonny and Brownie #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6192

Audiocassette FT-6172

Music #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6172

Live music by unknown performers.

Audiocassette FT-6158

Music #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6158

Audiocassette FT-6160

Music #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6160

Audiocassette FT-6161

Political meeting #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6161

Audiocassette FT-6163

Unknown #05407, Series: "Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977." FT-6163

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Processing Information

Processed by: Jennie Clements, November 2010

Encoded by: Jennie Clements, November 2010

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