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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

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Randy Russell

Hurricane Ginger struck in 1971. After two-and-a-half decades of calm, Dennis, Floyd, and Irene made 1999 a hurricane-heavy year. Rain-soaker Tropical Storm Nicole fell in 2010. Hurricane Irene landed in August of the following year. All 6 storms caused the Cashie River in tiny downtown Windsor to overflow its banks, in effect, inundating historic Bunn’s Barbecue, open since 1938, each time. As Bunn’s co-owner Randy Russell tells it, “We know all about flooding.”

Following each storm, the Russell family rebuilds Bunn’s. They’ve been blessed with a building—an old filling station—constructed from sturdy heart pine and brimming with character. Fortunately, the Russells also serve up one of North Carolina’s more unique barbecues. The cornbread sandwich fills a half-inch thick square with chopped roast Boston butt and coleslaw. Soak yours in the peppery vinegar hot sauce while thanking the rain gods for sparing Bunn’s this year.

Date of interview:
2011-12-01 00:00

Rien T. Fertel

Denny Culbert

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The Southern Foodways Alliance drives a more progressive future by leading conversations that challenge existing constructs, shape perspectives, and foster meaningful discussions. We reconsider the past with research, scrutiny, and documentation.


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