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Black Earth oral history participants sought

Meuse helps residents tell their own stories


June 14, 2018

Last fall and in May this year, the Black Earth Public Library hosted a UW-Madison English literature PhD student, Julia Meuse, to lead two book discussions.  As part of the Graduate Public Humanities Exchange program, she is working with Black Earth residents to introduce the study of writing techniques employed by authors of stories in rural settings.  The two books that she led discussions on were, The Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner and Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance.  She is taking the Wisconsin Idea to heart by pushing beyond the borders of the UW campus and moving out into agricultural communities, like Black Earth, that have given so much to our state.

The residents of Black Earth will now have an opportunity tell their own stories and give back to the town, county, and university communities through preserved oral testimony.  There are many stories about life in Black Earth that long-time residents can tell.  If you are interested in telling your own story about growing up in Black Earth, or just a funny or family story you remember happening here, please consider sharing your story through this project.

The recording of these interviews will take place in the Black Earth Historical Society’s headquarters on Blue Mounds St., by appointment.  If a participant is unable to make the trip to the historical society’s facilities, it is possible to make the recording in an individual’s home.  You can book an appointment by contacting the library director, Carolyn Shaffer at 608-767-4905 at the public library or emailing


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