Thursday, March 10th, 2016
12:00 - 1:15pm EST
What does it take to move from oral history to actual change?
As practitioners seeking to engage oral history as a method for not only documenting, but actively contributing to social change, we often talk a lot about our struggles. But we also need to celebrate and learn from our victories!
In this special PSN video chat, we invite three practitioners to share how they’ve successfully engaged oral history in service of social justice. We’ll hear what they did, how they did it, some of the challenges or questions they encountered along the way, and how their projects helped lead to meaningful change. Participants on the chat will have the opportunity to ask questions and dig deeper into how oral history can help make an impact on the issues we care about most.
Please note: We plan to record and share this video chat with the broader Groundswell community.
Mark Naison, Bronx African American History Project
Mark is Professor of History and African American Studies at Fordham University. He is the author of six books and over 200 articles on African American politics, labor history, popular culture and education policy. Dr. Naison is the founder of the Bronx African American History Project, one of the largest community based oral history projects in the nation and brought his research into more than 30 Bronx schools before his community history programs were pushed out by school closings and test based ratings of schools and teachers. A co founder of the Bronx Berlin Youth exchange, Naison’s articles about Bronx music and Bronx culture have been published in German, Spanish, Catalan, and Portuguese as well as English and he recently published a novel, Pure Bronx, co-written with his former student Melissa Castillo-Garsow, and a book of essays entitled Badass Teachers Unite. His seventh book, in publication with Fordham University press, is Before the Fires, An Oral History of African American Life in the Bronx from the 1930’s to the 1960’s.
Naison has a long history of activism beginning with the Congress of Racial Equality and Students for a Democratic Society in the 1960’s, through community organizing initiatives in Brooklyn and Bronx neighborhoods, through more recent activity connected to the Occupy movement and the defense of public education. He comments regularly on education issues through his blog, withabrooklynaccent.blogspot.com as well as on LA Progressive, History News Network, and The Washington Post “Answer Sheet.” He has founded or co-founded three education activist sites on Facebook -“Dump Duncan,” “Occupy Teach for America” and the wildly successful “Badass Teachers Association.”
Manissa McCleave Maharawal, Narratives of Displacement and Resistance Oral History Project
Manissa is a doctoral candidate in the Anthropology Department at the City University of New York, Graduate Center. She is currently an ACLS Mellon Dissertation Completion Fellow and a Doctoral Fellow at Center Place, Culture, and Politics. Her research focuses on struggles over urban space, gentrification and contemporary social movements in the United States. As a trained oral historian she uses oral history to conduct life history interviews with activists in order to explore how life history contributes to the formation of “radical” politics.
Manissa co-directed the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project‘s “Narratives of Displacement and Resistance” project. This project aims to document urban change in San Francisco by foregrounding the stories of people who have been, or who are being, displaced. Through collecting oral histories of people who have been or who are in the process of being displaced and placing them on an online map of San Francisco, the project creates a living archive, documenting deep and detailed neighborhood and personal histories.
Alisa Del Tufo, Threshold Collaborative
Alisa has worked to support justice and to strengthen empathy throughout her life. She has founded three game changing organizations: Sanctuary for Families, CONNECT and Threshold Collaborative. In the early 1990’s, Alisa pioneered the use of oral history and community engagement to build grassroots change around the issues of family and intimate violence. Her innovations have been recognized through a Revson, Rockefeller and Ashoka Fellowship.
Currently, Alisa directs the Threshold Collaborative, a non-profit organization that uses stories to promote personal, organizational and community change. Its work develops insight, strengthens empathy, promotes healing and understanding, surfaces knowledge, documents history and designs solutions that address challenges in today's world. Threshold Collaborative integrates story sharing, photography, video and public art projects to document, explore and learn about issues from the perspective of resident experts – the people living, working and going to school in our communities.