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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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Rachel Poe

Born in 1992, Rachel Poe lives and works as a food service employee in Durham, North Carolina. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Rachel had three jobs. She worked as a bartender at Locals Oyster Bar, a wine retailer at Raleigh Wine Shop, and one day a week, she filled in at State Rock, another local restaurant.

In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic began to affect Poe and her colleagues. Poe was laid off from her bartending job at Locals for two weeks. When the restaurant reopened with take-out only service, her position shifted into expo. Because of the great demand for wine, she began working longer shifts at the Wine Shop. Poe continued to work part time in food service and wine retail throughout the pandemic, though the uncertainty brought about by the virus made it difficult to make a living as a food service worker.

Date of interview:

Ellen Brooks


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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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