PART I: Introduce Oral History + Discussion Questions
Oral History projects rely on memory and spoken word. After an interviewer records the stories directly from the interviewee, the interviewer (which will be YOU), analyzes and reflects upon how to share the story in an accurate historical context.
QUESTIONS TO EXPLORE. These can be answered through discussion, quick writing responses or longer paragraph responses,
- Who writes history?
- What is oral history? How does it add to history?
- Beyond textbooks and the internet, what are some of the ways we know what happened in the past (i.e. journals, objects, letters, photos)?
- How can oral histories help us to understand the past?
- Why is it important to understand people’s stories?
- How does recalling experiences and events become history?
Oral history gives life to the facts.
Example: In 1933, unemployment had risen from 8 to 15 million and the gross national product had decreased from $103.8 billion to $55.7 billion.
This is an oral history account that gives face to that fact: “I remember it was awful hard times, and it was hard to get a hold of enough to buy a sack of flour and we made our own breads, cooked our vegetables, bottled our fruits, raised our gardens. We did most of our own cooking and pastry, pies, whatever. Did it all ourselves; we hardly ever bought anything.” --Marvell Hunt, recalling life at 19 years old during the Depression in Sevier County, Utah. Source: Family Gallery Guide for “Our Lives, Our Stories: America’s Greatest Generation,” NEH on the Road, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.