The recollection of one's own life. May or may not include Oral History, but it's closely related.
I’ve mentioned it previously, but having just finished reading it, I have to mention it again: Edward Ball’s Slaves in the Family. It’s history, memoir, oral history; a re-telling of American History through the events of one slave-owning family in South Carolina. I found more: a 30-minute radio documentary (Sept 28,2000 episode, scroll half way down. Real Player). The documentary was produced by David Isay (what a coincidence! Isay is from Sound Portraits productions; he’s founder of the StoryCorps Project).
Edward Ball interviewed: PBS Newshour upon his book winning the National Book Award
The Paula Gordon Show. Radio interview. Summary of interviews, short (3:25) audio excerpt (no transcripts or full audio file, alas)
I’m trying to put a finger on what it is about Slaves in the Family that’s so striking: Certainly the history of the United States as told through the thread of a single family both fascinated and illuminated. It’s been a long time since I studied the American Revolution, when I did, Pennsylvania, Virginia and New England were where it’s at. Those southern states? Not so ...Read More
For African-Americans, genealogy is harder. “‘The major difference is as a white person you won’t be looking for your people as property of somebody else,’ said Traci Wilson-Kleekamp, a genealogy researcher…” Oral History is an important key. And sharing research—whites with blacks and vice-versa.
This article sparked my attention, because I’m reading a book called Slaves in the Family, by Edward Ball. Ball is the descendant of the plantation-owning Balls from South Carolina. He examines the history of his slave-owning, in his family, breaking familial taboos (one cousin told him, “What you are doing can only cause trouble!”) and breaking new ground in uniting current-day African-Americans with records of their forbears.
Here’s a short excerpt from the book where Ball visits the elderly Katie Roper and her two 40-ish daughters, Delores and Charlotte. Katie is the granddaughter of Bright Ma, a Ball family slave. Edward Ball shares information from the plantation records with ...Read More
The Remembering Site —Sharing our collective memories— is a website where you can join, and be presented with a host of questions to answer. It’s like writing a personal memoir, in small stages. The site is primarily devoted to text and writing recollections. But the nonprofit foundation offers audio recording services, too. One co-founder, DG Fulford (together with her brother Bob Greene) wrote a book To Our Chidren’s Children, an excellent book of questions to spark memory and recollection.
You sign up for the site, pay $10, and are guided to answer as many or as few of the myriad questions presented. Here are a few from the page of sample questions (that’s 4 of 32; go the page for all of ‘em). I like them for the way that they pull for specifics and sensory details, but if you’re going to be asking questions in a conversation, I wouldn’t ask multiple-point questions:
Did your grandparents live nearby? How often did you visit their homes? Did the house have a special cooking smell? Onions? Cookies? What did their couch feel like? How big was the kitchen?
Do you remember “getting” a concept in school? Cursive writing, maybe? Do you remember the moment when you first ...Read More