Getting People to Talk


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Photo: caption follows

Heard County, Georgia. May 1941. African-Americans visiting on the street on Saturday afternoon. Jack Delano. Photograph, 1941. (LC-USF33-20841-M2).

Botkin stressed the process of conducting interviews, directing his Federal Writers to "make your informant feel important. Well-conducted interviews serve as social occasions to which informants come to look forward." Each Federal Writer interpreted this advice according to his or her own inclinations. Said Ellison: "I would tell some stories to get people going and then I'd sit back and try to get it down as accurately as I could."


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