Civil Rights Project
By listening to and recording personal stories, an intrepid team of Washington College students explored the Civil Rights Era of the 1950s and 1960s through the eyes of Kent County residents.
This summer 2013 workshop included an intensive orientation to oral history at George Mason University, speakers who provided insight into the Civil Rights Era, and a series of field trips. Students spent three weeks meeting with local residents and recording their firsthand experiences during the turbulent times of the civil rights movement. Interviewees recalled the fight for racial equality, their experiences in segregated schools and workplaces, and close-knit African American communities where they raised their families. The resulting blog and iTunesU playlist attest to the power of personal stories in understanding the past.
StoryQuest brings together a team of Washington College students who learn to collect first-person oral histories and share them via performances, presentations, exhibitions, and a digital audio archive. Our interviewees have ranged from World War II veterans to Chesapeake watermen to participants in the Civil Rights movement.
The art of oral history provides skills that students in many different fields—not just history—can bring to their academic and professional lives. It develops communication and interviewing abilities as well as technical and multimedia expertise. Best of all, StoryQuest provides opportunities to meet fascinating people, hear their stories, and preserve these for future generations.
Listen In! Hear some of our interviews featured on these iTunes playlists:
Veterans of World War II, the Korean War, and Vietnam,
Chester River Stories, and the Civil Rights Era
The Starr Center also offers robust community programming that draws upon oral history, including a local collaboration with the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program and the National Home Front Project’s World War II community partnership program.
The StoryQuest Oral History Program staff includes Michael Buckley, Starr Center Program Manager, Starr Center Deputy Director Dr. Patrick Nugent; and our newest oral historian, Erica Fugger.
The program was also built through the hard work of our students and the dedication of Starr Center Director Adam Goodheart and Lani Seikaly, an experienced oral historian, community activist, and teacher.
If you would like to participate in StoryQuest as a student interviewer or community interviewee, please contact program staff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in learning more about how to record World War II oral histories in your own family or community, please contact email@example.com.