You use oral histories, or interviews, as primary sources for Southern history, especially for 20th century topics. Sometimes, oral histories have been transcribed by other historians, and we can search for and read their transcriptions. Some resources to find transcipts as well as recordings of interviews with Southerners are:
You can sometimes pinpoint oral histories on the internet or in general collections by using search terms like "oral history" in quotation marks, or the keyword interview. Narrow your search to interviews on a specific topic with search statements like interview and "civil rights". Or, focus your search on interviews with people from a specific region with search statements like interview and Alabama.
Folklore is the set of stories, songs, legends, riddles, and jokes of a culture. Folklore was originally unwritten, and meant to be orally passed on from generation to generation.
The South has a vibrant folklore tradition. On porches, around campfires, and over suppertables, Southerners have handed down tales that reveal their values, morals, and history. For introductions to the study of folklore, please see these resources:
America: History and Life--the premier database for secondary sources in American history, covers folklore and its historical context.
Literature Online (LION)--click "Criticism" on the left sidebar to find scholarly works about Southern folklore.
Resource Center--another great database for criticism.
MLA International Bibliography--From the Modern Language Association of America, find articles "about literature, language, linguistics, and folklore."
You can find articles about Alabama history and folklore in Alabama Heritage. The last few years are available online. Older issues are available in print at Gorgas Library on Floor 4M at call number F321 .A45x.
American Folklore (click on a Southern state for folklore from that state)
Folklore and Mythology: Electronic Texts (Southern and nonSouthern)