Event Information

When I’m Gone: Remembering Folk Icon Elizabeth Cotten

The University Libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill presents an evening of stories and music celebrating the life of legendary North Carolina musician Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten.

Born in 1893, Cotten wrote her signature song, “Freight Train,” about the train she could hear from her childhood home in a community later incorporated as the town of Carrboro, North Carolina. Cotten's talents as guitarist and songwriter came to light while she was working in the home of the Seeger family, who encouraged her career as a professional musician. Cotten toured across the country, recording several albums and winning a Grammy Award and a National Heritage Fellowship before her death in 1987.

This hour-long virtual program will feature guitarist Yasmin Williams, musician and scholar Alice Gerrard and Cotten’s great-grandson John W. Evans Jr. The University Libraries’ Southern Folklife Collection will host the event.

The Southern Folklife Collection at the Wilson Special Collections Library collects, preserves and disseminates music, art and culture related to the American South. The SFC is honored to preserve and provide access to studio masters, interviews, concert recordings, photographs and papers relating to Elizabeth Cotten’s extraordinary musical career.

This event is supported thanks to a generous grant from the Martin Guitar Charitable Foundation.


Thursday, November 12, 2020
7:00pm - 8:00pm
Lectures, Readings and Talks   Music  


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Katie Fanfani