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University Relations

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Feb. 1, 2005
Contact: Victor Bailey, Hall Center for the Humanities, (785) 864-7822.

Hall Center at KU to present oral history workshop March 18 in Kansas Union

LAWRENCE -- The Hall Center for the Humanities at the University of Kansas will hold "Learning to Hear the Stories VI: Listening in the Borderlands," a workshop on oral history and tradition, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 18, in the Kansas Union ballroom.

The research interests of the two main speakers for this year's event are African-American and Native American intersections.

Angela Y. Walton-Raji is an Arkansas native who located her family records among those of the Choctaw Nation, substantiating a multicultural heritage often spoken about from family oral history. She will focus on how her own oral history affected her scholarship and on the importance of oral history in Afro-Native genealogy.

Patrick Minges, a professor at Davidson Middle College in Lexington, N.C., wrote "Black Indian Slave Narratives and Slavery in the Cherokee Nations: The Keetoowah Society and Defining a People: 1855-1867." He will discuss the use of slave narratives in chronicling the lives of Afro-Native people. His research on slave narratives from the Federal Writers' Project in the 1930s will serve as a foundation for his talk.

Historian Al Broussard, KU Langston Hughes visiting professor and former president of the Oral History Association, and Cynthia Chavez, curator of the National Museum of the American Indian "Our Lives" exhibit, also will be among the presenters for the event.

The workshop is co-sponsored by the Shifting Borders of Race & Identity Project, conducted by KU and Haskell Indian Nations University, and supported by the Ford Foundation.

Other workshops will cover topics such as technology and the oral history interview, Korean communities in Kansas, testimonies from women at The Hague and the border crossings between Mexican and First Nation sojourners.

Oral history is the history of experience -- the stories of average people and how they live. Proponents say oral history is important because it can tell us much more about culture and society than can a history text that focuses only on famous people and circumstances. Oral history also can teach people about the experiences of marginalized groups, who commonly are left out of traditional history.

Lunch will be provided to those who register by Feb. 28. To register or for more information, contact the Hall Center at (785) 864-4798 or


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