Editing and Authenticity

by Cole Richard

Cole Richard is a junior from Orlando, Florida double majoring in English and Italian Studies and minoring in Linguistics. This is his first summer working on the Race & Racism project. He is also a resident assistant, DJ at the campus radio station, and student worker at the music library.

In reflecting on the entirety of the oral history process — from interviewing to creating a podcast — I’ve gained a better understanding of how to interview in order to get quality material. Interview material moves through a multitude of contexts. There’s a pretty big difference between the interview itself and the final product, the podcast. Although my podcast was created from the audio collected in an oral history, its shorter length and more polished production result in it having a larger audience. Because of this, material that may have been sufficient for the purposes of the interview and oral history wound up being not as well suited for the podcast.

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Don’t Sit in Your Complacency

by Shira Greer

Shira Greer is a rising sophomore from Fairfax, Virginia majoring in Political Science and minoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. This is her first summer working with the Race & Racism Project. On campus she is also a Richmond Scholar, an Oliver Hill Scholar, a Peer Advisor and Mentor, and a member of the Executive Council for a Multicultural Space at the University.

Now that my work this summer on the project is done, I can reflect on the experience of being on Team Oral History. At the start of the summer, I was somewhat apprehensive about my choice to join Team Oral History as opposed to Team Archive. I questioned whether I would be good at interviewing and had no clue how I would learn to create a podcast considering my limited exposure to the medium. However, I now can see how much I’ve learned through my work this summer.

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Tell and Listen

by Jenifer Yi

Jenifer Yi is a sophomore from Santa Clarita, California majoring in Biochemistry with a concentration in Neuroscience and a minor in Healthcare Studies. She has been involved with the Race & Racism Project since 2018 and hopes to diversify the conversation and inclusion of all students of color at the University of Richmond. On campus, she is a part of the leadership board for the Asian American Student Union. Through her contributions to the project, she wants to push for campus-wide racial awareness. In the future, she hopes to pursue a career in medicine while continuing to advocate and raise awareness for healthcare access for minorities.

Setting up recording equipment, not quite sure how high to raise the microphone; nervously re-reading your list of questions; waiting to talk to a person you have never seen in real life – this is what it is like to conduct an oral history. You do not know where the conversation will wander, even if you prepare a list of questions or have a direction in mind for the conversation. Looking back on my reflections on how I thought interviews would pan out, I have learned a lot since then. Previously, I had nothing but my imagination, the Collegian, and ancient yearbook pages to base my expectations on.

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On Campus but Not Welcomed

Over the course of summer 2018, five A&S Summer Research Fellows conducted a series of interviews with University of Richmond black alumni. Expanding on previous research (see memory.richmond.edu) conducted in University Archives at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, the practice of oral histories seeks to grow what is held in the archival record, to give voice to the people and stories that have not been heard and/or included in the historical record. As the Baylor University Institute for Oral History explains: “Oral history provides a fuller, more accurate picture of the past by augmenting the information provided by public records, statistical data, photographs, maps, letters, diaries, and other historical materials. Eyewitnesses to events contribute various viewpoints and perspectives that fill in the gaps in documented history, sometimes correcting or even contradicting the written record. Interviewers are able to ask questions left out of other records and to interview people whose stories have been untold or forgotten. At times, an interview may serve as the only source of information available about a certain place, event, or person.”

After conducting a series of interviews, students were tasked with creating short podcasts from the stories they heard. Special thanks to Kelley Libby for joining our team this summer and providing instruction production assistance for these student works.

On June 26, 2018, Rena Xiao (’20) conducted an oral history interview with Dr. Jesse Moore (B’81), with audio assistance from Eden Wolfer (’20).

Click here to listen to the entire podcast produced and narrated by Rena Xiao from the one hour and thirty minute interview in which Moore discusses his experience as a black student athlete at the Robins School of Business in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

Can I Survive? by Mysia Perry

Over the course of summer 2018, five A&S Summer Research Fellows conducted a series of interviews with University of Richmond black alumni. Expanding on previous research (see memory.richmond.edu) conducted in University Archives at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, the practice of oral histories seeks to grow what is held in the archival record, to give voice to the people and stories that have not been heard and/or included in the historical record. As the Baylor University Institute for Oral History explains: “Oral history provides a fuller, more accurate picture of the past by augmenting the information provided by public records, statistical data, photographs, maps, letters, diaries, and other historical materials. Eyewitnesses to events contribute various viewpoints and perspectives that fill in the gaps in documented history, sometimes correcting or even contradicting the written record. Interviewers are able to ask questions left out of other records and to interview people whose stories have been untold or forgotten. At times, an interview may serve as the only source of information available about a certain place, event, or person.”

After conducting a series of interviews, students were tasked with creating short podcasts from the stories they heard. Special thanks to Kelley Libby for joining our team this summer and providing instruction production assistance for these student works.

On June 25, 2018, Ayele d’Almeida (’20) and Mysia Perry (’21) conducted an oral history interview with S. Joanne Morris (B’79).

Click here to listen to the entire podcast produced and narrated by Mysia Perry from the forty minute interview in which Morris discusses her experience as one of the few black women in the Robins School of Business in the late 1970s.

Where I Come From, You Recognize Humanity by Ayele d’Almeida

Over the course of summer 2018, five A&S Summer Research Fellows conducted a series of interviews with University of Richmond black alumni. Expanding on previous research (see memory.richmond.edu) conducted in University Archives at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, the practice of oral histories seeks to grow what is held in the archival record, to give voice to the people and stories that have not been heard and/or included in the historical record. As the Baylor University Institute for Oral History explains: “Oral history provides a fuller, more accurate picture of the past by augmenting the information provided by public records, statistical data, photographs, maps, letters, diaries, and other historical materials. Eyewitnesses to events contribute various viewpoints and perspectives that fill in the gaps in documented history, sometimes correcting or even contradicting the written record. Interviewers are able to ask questions left out of other records and to interview people whose stories have been untold or forgotten. At times, an interview may serve as the only source of information available about a certain place, event, or person.”

After conducting a series of interviews, students were tasked with creating short podcasts from the stories they heard. Special thanks to Kelley Libby for joining our team this summer and providing instruction production assistance for these student works.

On June 20, 2018, Ayele d’Almeida (’20) and Jacob Roberson (’19) conducted an oral history interview with Stan Jones (R’83).

Click here to listen to the entire podcast produced by Ayele d’Almeida from the one hour and forty minute interview in which Jones discusses his experience of social life and academic life as a black student athlete on campus in the early 1980s.

The Damage of the Affirmative Action Myth by Eden Wolfer

Over the course of summer 2018, five A&S Summer Research Fellows conducted a series of interviews with University of Richmond black alumni. Expanding on previous research (see memory.richmond.edu) conducted in University Archives at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, the practice of oral histories seeks to grow what is held in the archival record, to give voice to the people and stories that have not been heard and/or included in the historical record. As the Baylor University Institute for Oral History explains: “Oral history provides a fuller, more accurate picture of the past by augmenting the information provided by public records, statistical data, photographs, maps, letters, diaries, and other historical materials. Eyewitnesses to events contribute various viewpoints and perspectives that fill in the gaps in documented history, sometimes correcting or even contradicting the written record. Interviewers are able to ask questions left out of other records and to interview people whose stories have been untold or forgotten. At times, an interview may serve as the only source of information available about a certain place, event, or person.”

After conducting a series of interviews, students were tasked with creating short podcasts from the stories they heard. Special thanks to Kelley Libby for joining our team this summer and providing instruction production assistance for these student works.

On July 2, 2018, Eden Wolfer (’20) and Rena Xiao (’20) conducted an oral history interview with Iria Jones (W’87).

Click here to listen to the entire podcast produced and narrated by Eden Wolfer from the one hour interview in which Wolfer considers affirmative action policies in the context of Jones’ experience as a student at the University of Richmond in the 1980s.

Stay tuned to this blog and our social media (TwitterInstagramFacebook) to find out when complete oral histories are available!

A Feather in Their Cap: The Story of Barry Greene (R’72)

Over the course of summer 2018, five A&S Summer Research Fellows conducted a series of interviews with University of Richmond black alumni. Expanding on previous research (see memory.richmond.edu) conducted in University Archives at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, the practice of oral histories seeks to grow what is held in the archival record, to give voice to the people and stories that have not been heard and/or included in the historical record. As the Baylor University Institute for Oral History explains: “Oral history provides a fuller, more accurate picture of the past by augmenting the information provided by public records, statistical data, photographs, maps, letters, diaries, and other historical materials. Eyewitnesses to events contribute various viewpoints and perspectives that fill in the gaps in documented history, sometimes correcting or even contradicting the written record. Interviewers are able to ask questions left out of other records and to interview people whose stories have been untold or forgotten. At times, an interview may serve as the only source of information available about a certain place, event, or person.”

After conducting a series of interviews, students were tasked with creating short podcasts from the stories they heard. Special thanks to Kelley Libby for joining our team this summer and providing instruction production assistance for these student works.

On July 12, 2018, Ayele d’Almeida (’20), Mysia Perry (’21), and Jacob Roberson (’19) conducted an oral history interview with Barry Greene (R’72).

Click here to listen to the entire podcast produced and narrated by Jacob Roberson from the one hour and forty minute interview in which Greene discusses his experience as the first black residential student at the University of Richmond.

Stay tuned to this blog and our social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) to find out when complete oral histories are available!

Tell the Whole Story – Why Oral Histories Matter

by Jacob Roberson

Jacob Roberson is a rising senior on the varsity football team from Richmond, VA double majoring in psychology and sociology. He is a co-vice president of UR Mentoring Network, he is a part of the Dean’s Student Advisory Board, and during the 2017-2018 academic year he was an appointed student representative of the Presidential Advisory Committee for Sexual Violence Prevention and Response. Additionally, he has been inducted into numerous honor societies including Omicron Delta Kappa, Mortar Board, Alpha Kappa Delta, and Psi Chi. He joined the Race & Racism Project in the summer of 2018 as a part of Team Oral History and hopes to remain an active contributor and collaborator into and through the 2018-2019 school year.

Left to right: Ayele d’Almeida, Mysia Perry, Jacob Roberson, and Barry Greene.

I went back and read my second blog post about my preparation for interviews. I’ll tell you what, it’s hard to believe my summer with the Race & Racism Project is almost over. When I think back about what I expected to happen and what all has actually come about, I am nothing short of pleased, proud, and thankful for the opportunity to have been on the inaugural Team Oral History. In the weeks since conducting my first interview, I have sat in on three more interviews as well as had the pleasure of being the main interviewer of Barry Greene (’72), UR’s first black residential student. My approach to Mr. Greene’s interview was much different from my approach to my interview with the Mitchells because unlike either of the Mitchells, I already had some preexisting knowledge of who Barry Greene was.

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The Importance of Marginalized Narratives

by Mysia Perry

Mysia Perry is a rising sophomore from Richmond, VA with an intended major in Leadership Studies and minor in Sociology and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.  She is a part of the WILL* program, Peer Advisors and Mentors, Planned Parenthood Generation Action, and she is both an Oldham and Oliver Hill Scholar. This is her first summer working on the Race & Racism Project on Team Oral History, and she is very excited to begin working for more equitable environment here at the University of Richmond.

The following blog post contains some contentious language. Please consider the intent of its use as you read on.

Left to right: Mysia Perry, Ayele d’Almeida, and S. Joanne Morris.

When I began my work on the Race & Racism Project, I expected completely overt and outright instances of prejudice and discrimination. I expected there to be black face and nooses and swastikas and instances upon instances when people called those before me a nigger. I didn’t think about how the racist views I witness must derive from the racist views and discriminatory experiences of the past marginalized groups. I wish I’d paid more attention to the details, where racism lies in the more subtle, socially acceptable forms. While I conducted and assisted with the interviews, I wish I had listened more to how the experiences that aren’t completely outright and direct affected the alumni. I found that as I worked more and more on the interviews, it was easier to pull out those things. In the first interviews, there were things I wish I had dug deeper into. I find that because I was so caught up on the things that did not happen, I didn’t listen closely enough to the things that did. I didn’t focus on the connections between the stories.

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