Community resilience: disaster and climate change

Examining Community Perceptions of Resilience in Princeville, NC

This engaged research project was conducted collaboratively with the Town of Princeville, NC, and examined what resilience means for members of the Princeville community. Princeville, originally founded as Freedom Hill in 1865, is the oldest town chartered by Blacks in the United States. Despite the town’s rich cultural and historical significance, the town was not well-known outside of eastern North Carolina until 1999, when heavy rains from Hurricane Floyd caused river waters to breach the town’s dike. Although nearly every structure in town was destroyed or severely damaged, and 2,100 residents displaced, the town’s citizens chose to opt out of the federal buyout program and to rebuild their community.  Princeville was again devastated by flooding resulting from Hurricane Matthew in 2016.

We used oral history interviews with Princeville residents to examine what resilience means to residents of Princeville. Using the residents’ own words, we designed an interactive museum exhibit highlighting the community’s resilience and perseverance.

Related Publications:

Grace-McCaskey, C. A., Pearce, S. C., Harris, L., Corra, M., & Evans, K. J.(2021)  Finding voices in the floods of Freedom Hill: innovating solutions in Princeville, North Carolina. Journal of Environmental Studies and Sciences, 1-11.




Current Research, Cynthia Grace-McCaskey


June 4, 2021