Reclaiming Recovery Narratives: A Community Response to Long-Term Hurricane Recovery in Lumberton, North Carolina

Authors: Diamond Holloman*, University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill
Topics: Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Cultural Ecology, Qualitative Research
Keywords: Hurricane, Disaster Relief, Narratives
Session Type: Guided Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Roosevelt 3.5, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Residents of South Lumberton, North Carolina, a predominantly African-American neighborhood, were still suffering from water damage to their homes, displacement, and lack of funds to repair the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew (2016) when Hurricane Florence made landfall in September 2018. Though they have received some money from FEMA and other aid agencies, their recovery is long from over. This project examines the construction of long-term "recovery" and "resilience" narratives for this marginalized community in the wake - and ongoing threat - of hurricanes, through participant observation, semi-structured interviews, and photovoice. This project aimed to unpack the ways in which ideas of recovery diverge or coalesce into useful long-term aid for these communities, and the levels of resilience that do or do not manifest following recovery efforts. I examine how residents of South Lumberton organically mobilized following Hurricane Matthew (2016) as a way of acting on their own environment when these spaces are so often racialized as being acted upon. Hurricane relief for Black communities is typically a narrative of top-down power dynamics: state and federal officials assess the value of a site's reconstruction, and then distribute funds and services based off of these assessments. But what would it look like when aid narratives are formulated under different circumstances, that is, as a grassroots informed approach? This question is addressed in this poster presentation.

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