Documenting Ferguson: Oral History, Virtual Technologies, and the Making of a Movement
The Saturday plenary session at the OHA annual meeting will explore issues of historical recovery posed by the mass protests against state sanctioned violence after the shooting of Michael Brown last August. As national attention turned to this little known city in St. Louis County during the summer of 2014, an explosion of youth activism and social media production made it a flashpoint for long standing grievances about law enforcement killings of unarmed citizens. Documenting this protest in real time raises a number of important issues for oral historians and academics, including how to best obtain oral interviews that represent broad swaths of different communities affected by the protests, whether or not utterances in social media might also be included as part of oral testimony, and finally how might archivists, researchers and academics work together to best preserve this living history. Professor Donna Murch, author of the oral history-based book Living for the City, will host a dialogue with Makiba Foster of the Documenting Ferguson project at Washington University and activists Nailah Summers from Florida and Haiku from St. Louis.