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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Guy and Candie Carawan collection

Repository: University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Wilson Library

Collection Description (Extant): Candie Anderson and Guy Carawan met as a result of their mutual involvement in the black civil rights movement and were married in 1960. Since then, the Carawans have been involved in the work of the Highlander Research and Education Center (formerly the Highlander Folk School) in Tennessee, an institution that supports and provides educational resources for various progressive social and political causes in the South. The collection includes chiefly audio tapes that reflect the Carawans' efforts to document the cultures of various groups of people in the South and elsewhere, beginning in the early 1960s. Included are historically significant speeches, sermons, and musical performances recorded during major civil rights demonstrations and conferences in Nashville, Birmingham, Atlanta, and other southern cities. Featured are Ralph Abernathy, Fred Shuttlesworth, Len Chandler, and the Sea Island Singers. Field recordings of worship meetings, songs, stories, and recollections from Johns Island, S.C., document elements of the African American heritage of the rural South Carolina Low Country. Also included are recordings of interviews with residents of south-central Appalachia concerning problems associated with coal mining and rural poverty and recordings of performances by Appalachian musicians, among them Hazel Dickens. Other items include recordings of remarks and musical performances by ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax; a discussion between Guy Carawan and renowned author and social commentator Studs Terkel; performances by singer-songwriter Mayne Smith and actor-comedian-musician Martin Mull; and recordings of Latin-American, Celtic, Australian, and Hungarian vernacular music. Supporting documentation for many of the tapes is on file with the collection. Recordings made by Guy and Candie Carawan, 1960-1965, of African American religious ceremonies from St. John's Island, S.C., known as the Christmas Watch and the New Year's Watch, all-night church meetings held on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve in the community's "praise house," in which the congregation would take turns preaching, testifying, shouting, praying, and singing, as moved by the Holy Spirit. The tapes include religious songs, hymns, preaching, and other forms of religious expression. The congregation, of an indeterminate size, was led by Esau Jenkins, John Smalls, and Rev. Grant in the Moving Star Praise House. There are also 13 spirituals from the Sea Islands of South Carolina, recorded in 1960 by unknown performers; 4 tapes of a "preach meeting," 24 January 1965; and interviews for Ain't You Got a Right to the Tree of Life, including songs and storytelling, children's songs and stories, religious songs, and edited interviews.

Date(s): 1959-1985

Existing IDs: #20008

Extent: 318 open reel tapes

Finding Aid URL:,Guy_and_Candie.html External Link

Language: English

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights


Civil rights movements--United States--Songs and music
Highlander Folk School (Monteagle, Tenn.)
Highlander Research and Education Center (Knoxville, Tenn.)
Protest songs


Sound recordings


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   May 15, 2015
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