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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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William Friday

William “Bill” Friday was born in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, in 1920. He grew up working in his grandfather’s country store, which sold a variety of item such as high-button shoes, broad-rim hats, chewing tobacco, and large wheels of cheese. In the summers of his youth, he and his three brothers would return to the Valley of Virginia and work as farmhands, shearing sheep, shucking wheat, and tending to their grandfather’s store.

In February 1946 William and his wife, Ida, moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina, to obtain advanced degrees in Law and Public Health, respectively.  From 1956 to 1986, William acted as the president of the University of North Carolina. Living within a mile of the Carrboro Farmers’ Market, William became a frequent market-goer and established lasting relationships with the farmers and artisan vendors at the Market.

At 91 years old, William continued to shop at the Market for fresh fruits and vegetables. On occasion, his daughter, Fran, would join him at market.  William and his family were particularly fond of the salad greens because they are fresh, delicious, and grown by their longtime friends.

Bill Friday passed away on October 12, 2012, at age 92.

Date of interview:
2011-08-25 00:00

Ashley Rose Young

Ashley Rose Young

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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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