Researchers at Duke University want to update the history and statistics of 20th Century social change in the South, combining social science research with narrative, oral histories with statistics, in a new Center for the Study of the South.

In an article at Duke Research, Bill Chafe, a Duke history professor and the leader of the research project at Duke's Social Science Research Institute, underscored that while there have been many good statistical studies about the political changes in the American South in the last half-century, and a lot of good oral history projects about the social changes that occurred as Jim Crow segregation was swept aside, the two haven't been put together very well.

Chafe told Duke Research that the center will be an attempt to fill a half-century-sized hole in the study of race in the South. "We're trying to bring together stories with statistics."

The article reported:

What few texts there are about race, politics and social structure in the American South are literally classics, 40 years old and more. "We realized there was just a huge vacuum that needed to be filled with new studies about the American South, with race as the critical hinge that will assess what has and has not changed," Chafe says.