February 22, 2001

Editor's note

Presenters include residents of Logan, Nicodemus, Lindsborg and Garden City.

Contact: Janet Crow, Hall Center, (785) 864-7823 or hallcntr@ku.edu.

Oral history workshop focuses on Kansas migrations

LAWRENCE -- Following last year's success, the University of Kansas will host a new oral history workshop centered around stories of Kansas migration, beginning at 9 a.m. March 9, in the Alderson Auditorium of the Kansas Union.

The workshop, sponsored by the Hall Center for the Humanities and the Project on the History of Black Writing, will focus on the stories of black, Swedish, German, and Mexican migration to Kansas to discover when and why they chose Kansas and what the process of assimilation was like.

Maryemma Graham, KU professor of English and the workshop's creator, says the failure to include oral history in the canon of stories is "... certainly one of the great ironies of our time, since there could be no America as we know it without these stories."

The growing influence of oral history and oral literacy has created a new way to gather, evaluate and maintain cultural traditions. How to initiate and incorporate oral history techniques in academic and other settings will be part of the workshop's theme. Examples of oral history work done by faculty at KU, Haskell, and others from around the region and country will be featured.

This year's opening session will address the theory and practice of oral history, followed by the stories of three Kansans who ventured out to make their mark. Two became filmmakers, and a third became a missionary in Japan.

"From Kansas to Japan," Polly Bales' presentation based on her biography of Kate Hansen, and "From Kansas to Africa," Conrad Froelich's look at the filmmakers Martin and Osa Johnson, will recount these stories.

Other featured participants include: Anna Ancil, KU Natural History Museum; Angela Bates-Thompson, Nicodemus Historical Society; DeVere Bloomberg, Lindsborg; Deborah Dandridge, Field Archivist with KU's Spencer Research Library; Thomas Holmquist, Lindsborg author; Isela Lerma, United Methodist Mexican-American Ministries, Garden City; and Juan Velasco, Mexican-American History and Culture, Santa Clara University, Calif.

The closing presentation will concentrate on the issues facing the field in the near future.


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