HomeSam Ewell and Elizabeth Rohrer Interviewed by Sierra Flowers and Brody Sigman, 2023

Sam Ewell and Elizabeth Rohrer Interviewed by Sierra Flowers and Brody Sigman, 2023

This oral history is an interview with Sam Ewell and Elizabeth Rohrer as part of the Lucy F. Simms School Oral History Project. The interviewers are Brody Sigman and Sierra Flowers. Brody and Sierre were students in Owen Longacre’s African American history course at Spotswood High School. The interview was conducted on February 20, 2023, at the Simms Center. 

Sam Ewell attended the Simms School for third, fourth and fifth grade. Elizabeth Rohrer attended for first, second, and third grade. In this oral history, Elizabeth Rohrer and Sam Ewell share their memories of growing up in Harrisonburg, Virginia. They discuss their experiences as part of the African American community in Harrisonburg during the 1950s and 1960s, including memories of family gatherings, church activities, and visits to local stores. They also touch on the impact of immigration on the city's diversity and reflect on how Harrisonburg has changed over the years, including the influence of James Madison University.

Elizabeth and Sam emphasize the importance of family and community support during their childhood, and they highlight the significance of preserving and sharing stories like Lucy Simms School's history, especially in the face of challenges to its recognition.

Interview and Transcript

Click here to download a copy of the transcript.

The transcript presented here has undergone a rigorous review and editing process undertaken by Kayleigh Bishop and Mollie Godfrey to ensure its accuracy and authenticity. After the completion of the oral history interview, we provided Sam and Elizabeth with the opportunity to review the initial transcript and offer feedback, corrections, and additional insights. This collaborative effort between Sam and Elizabeth and our team at James Madison University has resulted in a final version that faithfully reflects the participants' own words and recollections.

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