MJM was thrilled to win a multi- company competitive bid to capture historical interviews with Alpharetta’s oldest natives.
It is hard to imagine that one of metro Atlanta’s most affluent cities, home to countless national and regional fortune 500 company Headquarters was within one single lifetime a tiny rural southern cotton town.
It is equally amazing to realize that people that are still alive today in Alpharetta were born into a world that more closely resembled the life of people who lived in the 1700s than they do today.
Most of these people lived an agrarian subsistence life. They had no electricity and running water in their homes, therefore the conveniences of modern life like refrigerator, radio, or TV, let alone air conditioning, washer and dryers were not available.
This job was not only professionally rewarding, but it was also personally and intellectually rewarding. We interviewed at length people who were born in the 1920s, 30s and 40s and even with a man born in 1918.
We learned that the biggest social event of the year was the June Singing when the city would balloon up ten times its population for one weekend in June. People came from all over the region to socialize and listen to Shape Note/ Sacred Harp singing.
We learned that most families killed the family hog after the first frost, because the winter cold was their only refrigeration.
We learned what they ate, how they survived and how they were educated. We heard stories of past relatives who knew Cherokee Indians who were purged in the Trail of Tears and people who witnessed the Leo Frank lynching.
We also learned of the joys of life, like the unity of a small town where no one locked doors and neighbors helped neighbors. It was fascinating to meet people who lived through the greatest technological and cultural transformation the world has ever experienced.