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Theodore Rosengarten Oral History Interviews and Other Recordings, 1971-1977

Creator: Rosengarten, Theodore.
Collection number: 5407
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Abstract: Theodore Rosengarten (1944- ) graduated from Amherst College in 1966 and received his Ph.D. in American civilization from Harvard University in 1975. In 1969, in the course of his research on the Alabama Sharecroppers Union in Tallapoosa County, Ala., he met African American farmer Ned Cobb (1885-1973), a former member of the Union. Rosengarten recorded a series of oral histories with Cobb and his family. These interviews were edited and re-ordered by Rosengarten for his book All God’s Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw (1974). The collection consists of 47 audiocassette tapes, most of which contain interviews conducted by Theodore Rosengarten with Ned Cobb and other members of the Cobb family. The interviews describe Cobb’s life as a sharecropper, then independent farmer, in east-central Alabama, his involvement with the Alabama Sharecroppers Union, his 12-year imprisonment for shooting at sheriff’s deputies intent on seizing a neighbor’s livestock, and his life after leaving prison. Included are 18 tapes of interviews with Ned Cobb, 20 tapes of interviews with his family, and five tapes of interviews with unidentified persons. There is also a small number of tapes containing music and other recordings.

Repository: Southern Historical Collection

Collection Highlights: The collection consists of 47 audiocassette tapes most of which contain interviews conducted by Theodore Rosengarten with African American sharecropper Ned Cobb and other members of his family. These interviews were used as the basis of Rosengarten’s book All God’s Dangers, which describes Cobb’s life as a sharecropper in east-central Alabama, his involvement with Alabama Sharecroppers Union, his 12-year imprisonment for shooting at sheriff’s deputies intent on seizing a neighbor’s livestock, and his life after leaving prison.

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