CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The College of Charleston (CofC) Libraries will launch a new push to preserve oral traditions and memories from Lowcountry residents thanks to a $150,000 grant.

The money is being provided by the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation’s “Broadening Narratives” initiative in support of the Lowcountry Oral History Initiative (LOHI).

According to CofC, “LOHI seeks to collectively illustrate communities of color, LGBTQ+ perspectives, working-class narratives, small community experiences as well as other underrepresented groups and viewpoints.”

LOHI archives oral histories online through the Lowcountry Digital Library, making them available to the broader public.

The program will also put together “oral history backpack” kits, which include tools for students and staff to conduct interviews and contribute to the LOHI project. The kits can be checked out from Addlestone Library.

Ellen Placey Wadey, program director for the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, explained that the backpacks eliminate a technology barrier, making “all the associated elements of recording oral histories … accessible, practical and user-friendly. And the community choosing to conduct an oral history project will have agency to tell their own stories in their own way.”