From The Director
“From participating in interviews, to engaging with the collection, to attending SPOHP’s events, the public is the lifeforce behind SPOHP’s past, present, and future.” -Dr. Paul Ortiz
Welcome to SPOHP’s 2018 summer newsletter! Our mission is to gather, preserve, and promote living histories of individuals from all walks of life.
Oral history puts students in direct dialog with individuals and groups who have changed the world. The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program teaches students, independent scholars, and community organizations how to bring history to life. Oral history is an interdisciplinary methodology that draws on ethnography, literature, social theory, and memory studies—among other academic fields. SPOHP emphasizes rigorous collaborative research, civic engagement, digital technology, and other techniques that make history accessible, democratic and fun. SPOHP engages students, scholars, and local communities throughout the world in gathering, preserving, and promoting living history through academic publications, public programs, electronic media and other forums in order to document the human condition.
SPOHP also teaches the craft and intellectual traditions of oral history through university seminars as well as through community-based workshops. In addition, SPOHP consults on an ongoing basis with local historians, civic leaders, and educators in Florida and beyond who are interested in initiating oral history projects in their towns and municipalities. SPOHP is committed to engaging in the scholarly and educational life of the University of Florida and our state, as well as the broader world through public history programs, academic conferences, and scholarly collaborations.
Of course, none of this is possible without your support! The great majority of SPOHP’s field work initiatives are funded by private donations; no donation is too small! Your support helps ensure that the Proctor Program is able to cover the travel, lodging, and equipment costs of our students as they embark on the field work opportunities you will read about in this newsletter.
Above all, I hope that you will enjoy this update on SPOHP’s work, and I welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have about the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program.
Paul Ortiz, Director
Thanks to our donors, 2017-2018 has been amazing!
And we’re planning a busy year ahead!
Thanks to our supporters, SPOHP has had one of its most productive years yet. We want to take a step back to reflect on some of this year’s greatest hits:
Porch Band of Creek Indians
This Summer a SPOHP team of undergraduate students, graduate students, and SPOHP alumni returned to in Atmore, Alabama to conduct interviews with members of the Poarch Band of the Creek Indian Nation. Students learned the technical skills necessary to set up cameras, lighting, and audio equipment at the tribe’s archive building, as well as in homes on the nearby reservation. The team was honored to be invited to the Evening of the Elders, where there was a community dance performance. In addition, the tribal council presented audio clips from elders, which had been digitized from cassette recordings by SPOHP technologists. Hearing the voices of revered elders, some of whom had passed away, brought an emotional reaction from the attending crowd gathered in the new tribal community center.
Seahorse Key Project
In 1952, the University of Florida established its marine laboratory on Seahorse Key, part of the Cedar Keys National Wildlife Refuge. The Seahorse Key Marine Lab oral history project is preserving the faculty, staff, student, and community memory of UF’s history on the island. It was made possible by a generous grant from the UF Center for the Humanities and the Public Sphere. SPOHP used a special stabilizing camera to film interviews while walking the beach.
Collaboration with College of Medicine for the Art of Aging Project
As part of the Geriatrics Clerkship rotation for fourth-year MD students, a core goal of the collaboration is to help future clinicians see older adults in their full personhood. Each month, students receive training in the methods of oral history from SPOHP staff and volunteers; interview a narrator who has been recruited through community partners.
Ongoing Work on Veterans Project with Library of Congress
SPOHP contines to collect oral history interviews with veterans and, in cooperation with the Library of Congress, process those interviews with the special forms required for having them included in the LOC’s archives for future generations.
But SPOHP never rests! We have a busy year ahead. Let’s also take a look at some of the many programs and events lined up for this summer:
Our 2018 Mississippi Freedom Project trip will be adding new stops
Students on this year’s trip will have the opportunity to visit the newly opened Equal Justice Initiative Legacy Museum and Lynching Memorial in Montgomery Alabama. As with all MFP trips, this year’s trip will give students the opportunity to meet numerous social activists that have done tremendous work to advance racial equity in this nation.
SPOHP’s Trinidad and Tobago Study Abroad beginning in 2019
Students in the UF in Trinidad and Tobago 2019 program will have the opportunity to participate in Emancipation Day celebrations and interview the leaders who helped Emancipation Day become an official holiday in Trinidad.
SPOHP’s Newest Fall 2018 Internship- exploring Punk Rock
SPOHP started recording interviews with people involved in the punk scene, prioritizing the voices of women, people of color, and queer punks who have always been part of the scene but are not always visible in popular representations of it. We are also making an effort not only to interview band members, but also general showgoers, zine makers, venue operators, and anyone else willing to share some of their experiences. This fall, our internship will add to and further process this collection, and also start creating things like podcasts and zines to share these stories and shed more light on how people can successfully create spaces of creative resistance, and what kinds of potential they offer for inclusivity and empowerment.
History of the Jewish Community in El Salvador
This year, LDAP expects to finally complete the transcription of the History of the Jewish Community in El Salvador project, through a collaboration with Dr. Rebecca Jefferson of the UF Judaica Library. The collection documents the community-building efforts of Jewish immigrants to El Salvador, some arriving in the 1920s and starting coffee plantations, and many more arriving after fleeing the Nazi occupation during WWII.
50 Years of Collaboration
One Community, Many Voices