Our Southern Souls is a collection of 177 stories of people Lynn Oldshue approached on sidewalks, streets, and parks across the South. She started this project six years ago after writing about the bus riders of Mobile, Alabama, for her magazine, The Southern Rambler. She rode the bus for months listening to the stories of people who depend on public transportation for everything from work and school to shopping and appointments.
The stories in Our Southern Souls are all unique, just like the people who shared them. Some are humorous. Several are utterly gut-wrenching. Still, more are inspiring, and many connect us with history. Each story is a reminder of the broken and better sides of all of us and what humans overcome on a daily basis—just to live their lives.
Her husband gave her the Humans of New York book filled with interviews on the streets of New York, and Our Southern Souls became interviews with strangers. Readers say they discover a part of themselves in the stories or share similar experiences and feelings. Each story feels like an honest conversation providing comfort in shared emotions. At the moment, the Our Southern Souls Facebook page has 43,732 followers. If Humans of New York had a southern accent, it would be Our Southern Souls.
Lynn is a journalist for The Lagniappe newspaper and Alabama Public Radio. She grew up in Yazoo City, Mississippi and fell in love with the Mobile, Alabama area where she currently resides. Her series about domestic violence, “From Hell to Hope” won first place in feature writing in 2019 from the Alabama Press Association and her series about sex trafficking, “Sexual Slavery in South Alabama” won the 2020 William H. Johnson Print Journalism Award given by the Medical Association for the State of Alabama and the second place in feature writing for the Green Eyeshade Awards that recognizes excellence in journalism in the southeast. She is part of the APR team that won a national Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists for a documentary on the long-term impact of the BP oil spill.
Here is the link to order the Our Southern Souls book.
All proceeds from the sales of Our Southern Souls will be donated to the Our Southern Souls Pledge Project with United Way of Southwest Alabama. Lynn started the Pledge Project two years ago intending to get kids off waiting lists of programs with United Way Partner Agencies and into programs with the help they need. They have raised $40,000 so far to get kids into mentoring services, early childhood education, mental health counseling and weekend meals. The Pledge Project also helped some families with rent and utility assistance.
For more information, contact Lynn Oldshue at [email protected].