WHEN: Thursday, April 14, 2016, 6 - 8 PM
WHERE: 207 Knox Hall
Although we live in an era of unprecedented “democratized documentation” where everyone with a smart phone can save millions of pieces of information about their lives, what is ever-elusive are practices to guide the gathering, contextualization, and distribution of oral history & documentary material from people who do not habitually frequent or donate to oral history centers. If we do not develop a rich, vibrant set of such practices, we will remain very good repositories for people who want to tell stories of the powerful from the inside-out, and we may remain okay at telling stories aboutthose on the margins. But we will continue to deny future generations the stories from people at the margins that are told by people living at the margins -- that is, marginal stories told from the inside out. As activist Cynthia Brown notes, “Those most directly impacted by injustice should be at the forefront of any activism that is happening for change.” The reason, she said, was simple: “When your life does not depend on the outcome of whatever you are fighting for, you will compromise at a place where people who are impacted by the outcome would never compromise.” This is also true for those of us engaged in building oral histories. People most impacted by historical injustice should be at the forefront of any archival collection documenting their lives. Those on the margins need to tell stories on their own terms, and make the key decisions about how those stories are collected, archived, contextualized and disseminated to the public. If they’re not at the center of the decision-making, our knowledge base of their lives is dramatically limited. This talk will examine how we’ve piloted this in a multi-year collaboration between the civil rights group SNCC and CDS, “The SNCC Digital Gateway: Learning From the Past, Organizing for the Future, Making Democracy Work.”
Wesley Hogan is the director of the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University and teaches the history of youth social movements, African American history, women’s history and oral history. Her book on SNCC, Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC and the Dream for a New America (2007), won the Lillian Smith Book Award, the Scott-Bills Memorial Prize for best work in peace history, and the Library of Virginia nonfiction literary award. She was the co-director of the Institute for the Study of Race Relations at Virginia State University from 2006-2009, whose mission is to bring together community organizers, researchers, and young leaders to promote healthy communities. Between 2004-2008, she was active with the project bringing together the Algebra Project, the Young People’s Project and the Petersburg City Public Schools, and coordinated an oral history project of the civil rights movement in Petersburg. She is currently working on a post-1960s history of young people organizing in the spirit of Ella Baker, and co-facilitates a partnership between the SNCC Legacy Project and Duke, “The SNCC Digital Gateway: Learning From the Past, Organizing for the Future, Making Democracy Work,” whose purpose is to bring the grassroots stories of the civil rights movement to a much wider public through a web portal, K12 initiative, and set of critical oral histories.
Charles E. “Charlie” Cobb, Jr. was born in Washington, DC and now lives in Jacksonville, Florida. He was a Mississippi field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) from 1962-1967 working primarily in the Mississippi Delta. A founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ), Cobb was a foreign affairs reporter for National Public Radio, a correspondent for the PBS documentary program Frontline, and from 1985-1997 was a staff writer for National Geographic magazine. He was a visiting professor at Brown University from 2001-2012, conducting a seminar called The Organizing Tradition of the Civil Rights Movement. He is currently a Duke University “scholar- activist” as part of a collaboration between the SNCC Legacy Project of which he is a board member, and Duke University developing a digital gateway to SNCC and its work. Cobb is the author of several books; his latest, published by Basic Books in June 2014, is: This Nonviolent Stuff’ll Get You Killed: How Guns Made the Civil Rights Movement Possible.
SPONSORS: This talk is part of the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Lecture Series, co-sponsored by the Columbia Center for Oral History Research (CCOHR), the Center for Oral History Archives (CCOHA), and the Oral History Master of Arts Program (OHMA). Support from the Interdisciplinary Center for Innovative Theory and Empirics (INCITE) is provided for programming that embodies late Professor Paul Lazarsfeld’s commitment to improving methodological approaches that address concerns of vital cultural and social significance.
INFORMATION: For more information, please email Amy Starecheski at aas39(at)columbia.edu
THIS EVENT IS FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
NO REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED