Flatwoods Community Oral History Project

The Flatwoods, Virginia community is located at the western end of Lee County, Virginia, on the Wilderness Trail near Cumberland Gap, made famous by explorers Daniel Boone and Dr. Thomas Walker. In 2013, the Appalachian Writing Project was awarded a grant from the National Writing Project to partner with a public school for the purposes of program development that would incorporate writing. Flatwoods Elementary School was under new leadership at the time and ready for innovative programming for its teachers and students that would link the school and community in the context of a rich history that had yet to be collected. The  project and its curriculum, titled Down Flatwoods Road: Looking Back, was developed by Linda Woodward, Gretta Carroll, Sheila Shuler, Gigi Long, Rex Young, and Dr. Renia Clark; the AWP supported FES with professional development programming for teachers who would implement the lessons in their classrooms. Appalachian author George Ella Lyon also visited the school for literacy programming with students, parents, and teachers; her book, Who Came Down that Road was used to jump-start the students' creative writing about place and community prior to their qualitative research.The result is a multi-genre oral history project written and published by fourth and fifth grade students who conducted interviews members of the community in addition to artifacts, photographs, and documents that narrate the history of the Flatwoods community and development of its school.