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Created in 2016 in response to a growing need to capture unrecorded Washington history, the DC Oral History Collaborative documents and preserves the stories and memories of DC residents as communities experience change and as residents age.
The Collaborative increases awareness of existing oral history recordings and gives residents the training and financial resources they need to conduct new first-rate interviews.
HumanitiesDC specializes in working with grantees who want to create new recorded stories or who want to dig into the archives and tell an old story with a new twist. The Historical Society of Washington, DC also offers free training for volunteers who are interested in recording oral histories.
Three categories of applications are accepted annually in January, and awardees are announced in March. Award amounts vary by category with project completion expected by September of the same year.
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Buzzard Point construction involved remediating polluted sites and putting fugitive dust and other pollutants into the air, while displacing rodents into nearby homes and yards, in its quest to become the site of the largest PEPCO substation in the city and the new DC United soccer stadium. Conducting oral history interviews with existing residents living adjacent to Buzzard Point as it underwent these transformations—especially those living in public housing—documented their family history in the neighborhood, relationship to the community and to the adjacent Anacostia River, and experiences with pollution and gentrification.
The Mt. Pleasant riots of 1991, a three-day uprising in a neighborhood praised as a model of multiculturalism, defined a generation of black and Latino youth and led to sweeping changes in how DC city government treated its Latino residents. This project seeks to understand both the reasons for and the consequences of this event through in-depth oral histories with those involved in the riots and those who witnessed them: participants, bystanders, business owners, police officers, government officials, and other community members.
Whitman-Walker Health has been on the front lines of caring for people dying of AIDS and living with HIV since the 1980s, and Whitman-Walker continues to be a leader in serving people living with HIV to live full, healthy lives. This oral history project spotlights the complexities, successes, and challenges of fighting HIV/AIDS from the start of the epidemic to present-day DC, including Whitman-Walker Health’s long history providing affirming HIV care.Grantee Resources
This award is granted with funds from the Washington, DC government via the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities’ Humanities Grant Program. Programmatic support for the DC Oral History Collaborative is provided by the DC Public Library.