BCL Remembers 9 -11 with a local archive

People throughout the world will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the tragic events of September 11th, 2001 this Sunday. As Christine Watkins wrote on the first anniversary:

"The events of last September didn’t only happen in New York and Washington, D.C.: They happened in every state and in every community. The need to commemorate, to understand, to grapple with the tensions between freedom and security is a national one. While understanding needs to be global, local actions ... are among the most powerful responses, bringing something almost too huge to be imagined down to human scale."

One of the local reactions to the events of 9-11 is a small unique collection of oral histories about that tragic day recorded as part of the September Project, 2004. The September Project's goal was that: "On Saturday, September 11th, 2004, people across the nation will go to public spaces to participate collectively and think creatively about our country, our government, and our media. With public libraries as host, The September Project will help facilitate talks and roundtables, public forums, and performances in towns and cities across the US."

Fran Hays of our staff led the Beaufort Branch Library's participation in the September Project. On Saturday, September 11, 2004, she set up a cassette tape recording station for people from our community to share their memories. Almost a dozen Beaufort residents and visitors offered their oral history recollections and reflections on what was the 3rd anniversary of the terrorist attack.

These oral histories are first-hand reflections on the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and Flight 93, and the consequences of the terrorist attacks on American freedoms, with a lapse of three years to process one's grief, emotions, and reactions. The recordings were placed in the BDC for permanent retention upon conclusion of the project. Beloved BDC docent, Hugh Folk, transcribed the oral histories in 2008. Charmaine Concepcion and I recently reviewed, edited, and added explanatory content to the transcriptions.

Read the BDC's oral history transcripts.

Fellow BCL reference librarian, Amanda Brewer, wrote about some of the materials the Library has on the attack and its consequences in our holdings and on display in the "From the Beacon" column in the Island Packet/Beaufort Gazette on Sunday, August 28th. Be sure to drop by the Branch libraries to see the displays or check out materials on the topic.

You'll have to drop by the BDC Research Room to hear the audio recordings. Our customary hours of operation are Mondays through Fridays, 10 am until 5 pm. We would love to have you visit!

About the Author

Grace Cordial has been responsible for the day-to-day operation of the Beaufort District Collection at the Beaufort County Library since 1999.  The Beaufort District Collection exists to acquire, preserve, maintain and make accessible a research collection of permanent value which records the history, culture, and environment of our part of the South Carolina lowcountry.  Besides the research room, Cordial manages the “Virtual BDC:” the BDC web pages, the Online Obituary Index, two digital collections, a new BDC.BCL Facebook page, and the Connections blog.  
Among her duties is to coordinate or present programs about local history, Gullah culture, and our coastal environment, including occasional instructional sessions about how to perform historical and/or genealogical research.