The Social Change Project is a project that recovers old files and interviews and re-formats them in order to organize and preserve them. This is a brand new Digital Library Services (DLS) project that I have been working on, and it is honestly quite interesting. This process starts off by taking the PDF file of an interview, for example, and converting it to a word document. After that, you create a new document and type up a brand new header for that interview. Once that is done, you then begin the process of re-formatting the interview. This can be a bit of a tedious process, but it allows you to get an in depth look at the content of the interview.
Currently, I am working on re-formatting an old interview of a historical Georgia lawyer, Millard C. Farmer. These series of interviews detail his life and some of his most famous court cases. Farmer graduated from the University of Georgia back when racism was still rampant in Georgia. He talks about how his father made the controversial decision to give a job to a black man that was on death row (apparently you can take a man out of prison for work until he is convicted). Farmer spent much of his young childhood working with this man at his father’s company, and he couldn’t stand the fact that this man was going to eventually be killed by court for a case in which there was no serious evidence that he was guilty.
Another event from the interview was when Farmer was in high school and he was the manager for the baseball team. A popular thing to do back then was to steal jerseys and wear them and many of Farmer’s white friends would do this at almost no consequence. One day, a black boy stole a jersey. This led to the boy being banned from sports, even though he was a great athlete. He was also “trialed” in front of other students, and he was mocked and looked down upon from that day forward. Mr. Farmer couldn’t stand seeing these things happen because he knew inside that this kind of treatment was wrong.
These were some of the events that led Mr. Farmer to become a lawyer, and I have found it very interesting to read into the minds of someone that was from this period of time that fought for social change. I look forward to working on these interviews, and learning much more about Mr. Farmer and other social activists in our GSU database.