National Parks Service: Watch NightJacob’s Pillow, Pillow VoicesAccents: Voices of Our Immigrant NeighborsUC Berkeley Saving Mount Diablo
1) People and their work, a collaboration
Reverend Charles and Evelyn Pratt
The full interviews can be found here: https://www.theoralhistorycenter.org/their-stories-the-berkshire-county-naacp/their-stories-overview/This interview was part of the NAACP Oral History Project, done in collaboration with the Oral History Center. A partner article appeared in the Berkshire Eagle, February 26, 2021.
This podcast tells of a few episodes in the work of Kit Dobelle, who was chief of protocol for President Jimmy Carter, and chief of staff for Rosalynn Carter. We first interviewed Kit as part of a project with the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, also at Berkshire Community College. The interview covered in this podcast was recorded remotely via zoom. It is part of a two-part series of interviews. A partner article appeared in the Berkshire Eagle on January 23, 2021.
2) The Read In Project: Black Reconstruction in America
Aug. 28 through Nov. 3, actors of stage and screen did a marathon Read In of
Black Reconstruction in America – By W.E.B. Du Bois
The Read In Series site: https://thereadinseries.com/
Here is our podcast about how the Read In happened:
A talk with producer MiRi Park about it, and with W.E.B. Du Bois scholar Camesha Scruggs about the book.
And here, read more at the Housatonic Heritage page devoted to WEB Du Bois, where you will find our Du Bois documentary project.
3) Essential Workers Oral History
This project features conversations with Essential Workers. These interviews were conducted in April, 2020, and of course the constant changes in protocols and what we know about this pandemic have made it difficult to document. In April, the situation in the region was quite different than it is today. Now we have few hospitalizations; and now, mid June, 2020, we are reopening the economy. Then, just two months ago, more people were in the hospital, and there were many, many unknowns: the essential workers – including grocery store employees, medical personnel, first responders, post office employees and others who deliver products and work on the front lines of commerce and customer care – were dealing with something they had never experienced.
Listen to a doctor, a nurse, a postmaster, and a farmer/farm store owner/chef as they try to figure it out and tell us what is happening and how they feel about their work. (Note, the longer interviews will soon be posted online at the University of Massachusetts and linked here. These selections on this page are edited from the longer interviews.)
Dr. Jennifer Nykiel’s interview:
Farmer Paul Tawcynski’s interview:
Postmaster Noreen Forfa’s interview:
Nurse Jennifer Charboneau’s interview:
4) NAACP Oral History Project podcasts
The NAACP Oral History Project is online, at the University of Massachusetts, and linked to our site here: https://www.theoralhistorycenter.org/their-stories-the-berkshire-county-naacp/
Here is the place we will put podcasts from the project
We begin with Shirley Edgerton (here above, seen on the right, Photos Julie McCarthy):
This is not a podcast, but a public panel discussion that happened via zoom during the pandemic, when the Berkshire Museum opened the virtual exhibit that had been created with the materials of the actual exhibit. (Thank you Craig Langlois and team at the Berkshire Museum).
5) 1968, the Year
Here are the oral history interviews, unedited, from the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) University Day on the theme of 1968, the year. The Oral History part of the day was coordinated by the Housatonic Heritage Oral History Center at BCC.
6) Housatonic Valley Regional High School History Fair student podcast
HOUSATONIC VALLEY HS & THE ORAL HISTORY CENTER COLLABORATE
EARLY ON, we worked with History Professor Peter Vermilyea and Career Experience Coordinator Mary O’Neill at the Housatonic Valley Regional High School. The idea was to help with Prof. Vermilyea’s Oral History Festival, to create a podcast with the interviews conducted by his students. We had a little help from another radio journalist and musician. Rebecca Sheir and Eric Shimalonis (Circle Round) taught director Judith Monachina and Abby Adam, a student (above left, pictured with Mary O’Neill), new skills. Abby then created this podcast using interviews students conducted with alumni/ae who had graduated in the 1950’s:
Here is the team again, two years later. History Professor Peter Vermilya, Oral History Intern/HVRHS Senior Valerie Lenis, Housatonic Heritage Executive Director Dan Bolognani, and HH Oral History Center Director Judith Monachina. Valerie and her history class interviewed alumni/ae who graduated from HVRHS in the 1970’s. Photo by Mary O’Neill, HVRHS Career Experience Coordinator.
In the spring of 2020, student Valerie Lenis created this podcast:
7) Learning about podcasts,
our interns interview Simon’s Rock archivist
Early Summer, 2019, Reinout van Wagtendonk, below, 40-year radio journalist and podcaster, presented workshops on Making a Podcast, for the Housatonic Heritage Oral History Center at BCC, on the Main Campus. Reinout has worked as a professional journalist for Dutch radio. His workshop gave us the essentials, and we were off and running.
In April, 2020, the Oral History Center hosted three virtual podcasting workshops again, this time with two leaders: Reinout van Wagtendonk, (See links on this page), and Bob Shepherd, Audio Engineer.
Here is a link to another podcast in a series that Reinout created for The Berkshire Eagle, with Viktoria Seavey, now a life coach, originally from Hungary.
8) Other projects
From the National Park Service, National Heritage Areas.
Episode 3.2 – Watch Night (Freedom’s Eve) in Gullah Geechee Communities
In Episode 3.2, Jules speaks with Heather Hodges, Executive Director of the Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor, about efforts in the Corridor to support and revive Gullah Geechee Watch Night traditions.
Spanning 425 miles of coastline and sea islands from North Carolina to Florida, the Corridor’s mission is to support and celebrate the culture and history of the Gullah Geechee people, who are descended from enslaved peoples from West and Central Africa. One of those traditions is Watch Night, also known as Freedom’s Eve. In the midst of the Civil War, people gathered together in churches on the night of December 31, 1862, to await midnight, when the Emancipation Proclamation was to free millions of enslaved people in the South.
Over the years, many African American churches have continued to hold Watch Night services each year. However, over time the connection between the New Year and the Emancipation Proclamation was largely forgotten. Heather explains how the Corridor has recently been working with community partners to reestablish Watch Night’s historical ties and revive its Gullah Geechee traditions.
From Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival’s Director of Preservation:
From ACCENTS: Voices of our Immigrant Neighbors,
a Berkshire Eagle Podcast by Reinout van Wagtendonk
Vivian Enchill, BCC Alumna. Above, a link to an interview with Vivian, who was interviewed as part of the ACCENTS project of the Berkshire Eagle. We were fortunate to work with the journalist who created this podcast series – he taught a workshop for practitioners of oral history in the Berkshires and NW Connecticut.
Learning about podcasts and oral history
Radio journalists teach our interns about radio storytelling and lead our workshops
When we first opened our Center here at BCC, Mark Mills, Bloomberg Radio journalist, who also does podcasts for the Berkshire Eagle, taught our Oral History Center interns about podcasting.
During that first summer, 2017, Rachel Levin and Chanel Palmer, Williams College interns at the Housatonic Heritage Oral History Center at BCC, interviewed Margaret Cherin, Archivist at Bard College at Simon’s Rock.
Here is the interview conducted by students Rachel and Chanel, with Margaret Cherin, College Archivist, and her student assistant Molly McGowan, who discuss their Oral History Project and share what they learned along the way.
National Park Service
Studs Terkel Radio Archives
LSU Harry T. Williams Center for Oral History
Mashpaug Pond, Providence RI
American Social History Project Podcast
British Library Sound Archive
Digital Omnium, Survey of Oral History Podcasts (The Louis B. Nunn Center for Oral History, University of Kentucky Libraries, including their own, The Wisdom Project
Listen to past Oral History Association president Annie Valk talk about the evolution of oral history practice, via podcast at the Center for Oral History Presents
Fortunoff Video Archive for Holocaust Testimony podcast: Those Who Were There
Making Gay History podcast
Squatters of the Lower East Side
From National Public Radio, The Hidden Brain: