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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

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Paula Byers

Bowens Island Restaurant

Paula Byers settled near Charleston to be close to the ocean. Her political support of Robert Barber was her first connection to Bowens Island Restaurant. After they became friends, Paula started visiting Robert’s family’s restaurant often. But she didn’t go for the food; she went for the experience. Over the years her experiences at Bowens Island have included helping to repair the deck, late-night swims in the marsh, and hosting the rehearsal dinner for her daughter’s wedding in the dock house; Robert Barber, an ordained minister, performed the ceremony. Years earlier, Robert’s grandmother, May Bowen, was the witness to Paula’s will. Robert drew up the document for her in his tiny law office in the back of the restaurant. It’s these memories that have endeared Paula to the place and the people of Bowens Island.

Date of interview:
2007-01-18 00:00

Amy Evans


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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.


Alex Raij Txikito

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