The Georgia team's initial Cultivating Homelands study tapped into the rich tradition of southern literature about rural life. Reading Caroline Miller's 1934 Pulitzer prize-winning novel, Lamb in His Bosom, Raymond Andrews' The Last Radio Baby, and former president Jimmy Carter's An Hour Before Daylight, the group traced similarities and differences in these vivid narratives about rural experiences. Carrying out their own inquiry into local places' past histories often promoted grass-roots collaborations with citizens' groups, which sometimes led to the renovation of formerly neglected sites. In one instance, a student group's history for a local courthouse building was barely completed when the building burned down from a lightning strike. This group is discovering that by chronicling parts of a rural community's history, they are also creating new communities of critical thinkers and informed preservationists.
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