Welcome Annemarie Nichols, SFA’s new oral historian

We are excited to welcome Annemarie Nichols to the SFA table as our new oral historian. She received a master’s degree in oral history from the University of Florida in 2017, as the first graduate of that program. She also earned her bachelor’s degrees in English and history from UF.

“We’ve asked her to focus very specifically on our archives and how to make them more accessible to both academic audiences and to popular audiences, this cache of almost 1,000 oral histories that we’ve collected over the last 15 years,” said John T. Edge, director of the SFA. “It’s her job to grow it but even more so it’s her job to normalize what we’ve collected, to frame it for scholars to better use, and to share it more widely with often underserved audiences.”

Nichols first became involved with SFA in 2016 when she attended the Oral History Workshop. For the past four years, Nichols has traveled across the South, interviewing potter-sawyer-musicians in the Blue Ridge Mountains, civil rights workers in the Mississippi Delta, and crabbers and oystermen in Tidewater Virginia, among others. She is a fifth-generation Floridian, proudly hailing from the Panhandle, who loves boiled peanuts and fresh Gulf seafood.

Nichols said that since food is something everyone understands, no matter who they are or where they are from, she wanted to be a part of the SFA’s commitment to complicating Southern narratives through food. She’s also happy to get connected with an entire group of people who are committed to documenting and studying the richness and complexity of the South.

“I relish the privilege of crafting oral histories and managing the archives for the SFA. I am hopeful that I can improve the already robust open-access archives to foster more critical thinking about the South,” Nichols said.

Article by Rebecca Lauck Cleary