Barbara Lau collection, 1979-2004.

October 12, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Creator: Lau, Barbara (Barbara A.)
Collection number: 20055
View finding aid.

Abstract: Barbara Lau (1958- ), folklorist and program coordinator, has studied African-American shape-note singing groups in the midwest, coordinated the 1983 Shape-Note Singing Reunion in St. Louis, Mo., and documented the 1983 and 1984 Ohio-Indiana-Michigan Vocal Singing Conventions. While doing graduate work in folklore at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Lau worked with a Cambodian community in Greensboro, N.C., through the Greensboro Buddhist Center. In 1999, she became the community-based documentary programs coordinator at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University. Materials, 1980-1995, include audio tapes, videotapes, photographs, slides, logs, and manuscripts from two of Barbara Lau’s folklife projects. Documentation of Lau’s work with African-American shape-note singing groups in the early 1980s includes her senior thesis, “Black Shape-Note Singing: A Beginning,” along with surveys on which she based her writing. Also included are photographs, audio recordings, and slides from the 1983 Shape-Note Singing Reunion in Saint Louis, Mo., and the Ohio-Indiana-Michigan Vocal Singing Convention, 1983-1984. Materials documenting the Cambodian community in Greensboro, N.C., include nearly 1,200 color slides and prints by Lau and photographer Cedric Chatterley of the 1995 Cambodian New Year celebration. There are also photographs of New Year celebrations in Lexington, N.C., and Charlotte, N.C., and videotapes by Jim White and photographs by Lau of a 1995 Cambodian wedding in Greensboro, N.C.. Lau also interviewed two Cambodian dancers, Chea Khan and Chaa Moly Sam, while they were in residence at the Greensboro Buddhist Center and photographed their classes. All photographs and interviews have extensive logs with commentary and field-note summaries by Lau. The Cambodian Immigrant Folklife series contains materials documenting interviews performed by Lau in preparation for a 2003 exhibit at the Greensboro Historical Museum entititled “From Cambodia to Greensboro: Tracing the Journeys of New North Carolinians.” It also includes a children’s book with text by Barbara Lau and photographs by Cedric Chatterly entitled Sokita Celebrates the New Year.

Repository: Southern Folklife Collection

Collection Highlights: Materials include audiotapes, videotapes, photographs, slides, logs, and manuscripts from two of Barbara Lau’s folklife projects. Documentation of Lau’s work with African-American shape-note singing groups in the early 1980s which helped produced her thesis “Black Shape-Note Singing: A Beginning,” along with surveys on which she based her writing. Also included are photographs, audio recordings, and slides from the 1983 Shape-Note Singing Reunion in St. Louis and the Ohio-Indiana-Michigan Vocal Singing Convention in Indianapolis in 1983 and Detroit in 1984. (See documentation and audio in Series 1)

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