From Segregation to Black Lives Matter: An African American Oral History Symposium

I was honored to present about Oscar Mack for the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program’s From Segregation to Black Lives Matter: An African American Oral History Symposium. The first symposium connected to the African-American Oral History collection at UF, this gave me a chance to re-engage with the Oscar Mack story. Since 2013 I’ve been plugging away on this project. Like everything involving the African-American experience, this project spun out of my digital humanities practice. While at Rollins College, approached the school’s commitment to community engagement through a “Classroom as Platform” approach that put students to work on community history project with the intention of cataloging, preserving, and presenting these stories through digital means. These projects often involved enhancing the scant record of the local black experience through oral history project or document research. The Oscar Mack project began in this manner and evolved as the story continued beyond the initial course. While the process has been slow, it was greatly enhanced by my time as Julian Pleasant Fellow at the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida. I partnered with the SPOHP to conduct numerous oral histories in Central Florida. My goal then was to capture those stories and add them to their collection. I had hope to create a path for future research, but naturally my knowledge of the context of the context of these stories is crucial. In the case of Oscar Mack, I realize I can use my evolving podcasting skills to tell one version of the story. This presentation gave me a change to test the podcast format and get the ball rolling. At roughly seven minute, the segment was not long, but people seem to embrace it. I can’t imagine i’m going to make 45 min episodes, but a three act structure with 7 to 8 mins per act does seem like a good format.

Stay Tuned.