The award-winning Virtual Oral/Aural History Archive, California State University, Long Beach (www.csulb.edu/voaha) now has made available the 1100 hours of original oral history recordings of some 343 people, including African Americans, American Indians, Asian Americans, Latinos/as and Southern and Eastern European immigrants. They range from farm laborers to professionals, from social reformers/community activists to anarchists and communists, from ventriloquists to jazz arrangers. Their narratives, organized in 30 series, document the US experience, 1890s to 1990s. They are broken into organic time segments that are summarized and assigned search terms, enabling users to locate relevant segments by search terms, or alternatively, to browse the collection hierarchy and listen to entire tapes or selected segments. (See descriptions of series/topics below).
[Note: some interviews are listed in more than one of the general categories.*]
WOMEN’S STUDIES – 142 narrators, 695 hours
Topics - 1900 to 1960s: radicals and reformers; suffragists; women in professions, business and entertainment; WW2 aircraft workers; women’s lives/women’s work; and garment workers (labor collection).[See also LongBeach/Community Builders]
Topics - 1960s to 1980s: Asian American women’s movement; Chicana feminist activists; feminist health movement; Los Angeles feminists; and welfare mothers movement.
LABOR STUDIES - 48 narrators, 167 hours
Topics: desegregating unions, WW2; organizing Mexican furniture workers; oil workers organizing and lives; women garment workers, including organizing of Chicago Women’s Local; and the lives and experiences of individuals active in the labor movement and/or who were participants in historic moments in labor history in Flint, Michigan, Ludlow, Colorado and Oakland, California.
ETHNIC STUDIES - 110 narrators, 256 hours
Note: many narrators discuss ethnic/race relations, but the following refers only to the interviews with people of color and/or immigrants.
African Americans- Topics: desegregating LA aircraft and shipbuiding unions (labor collection); organizing to open wartime jobs, and the experiences of the women aircraft workers, women’s lives/women’s work, and women’s social reform activism (women’s history); and, civil rights and institution building (Long Beach history). (19 narrators, 53 hours)
American Indian Lives – Topics: impact of Indian boarding schools; the occupation of Alcatraz Island (6 narrators/14 hrs);
Asian Americans - Topics: Terminal Island Japanese fishing village (Long Beach history); Japanese community of South Bay; Asian American women’s movement (women’s history); and Cambodian and Hmong immigrants (50 narrators, 96 hours).
Mexicans/Chicanos/Chicanas - Topics: Chicano Student Movement; Mexican Revolution; life and work on Rancho Los Alamitos; furniture workers, and garment workers efforts to form a Spanish speaking local (labor collection); Chicana feminists, including founders of Hijas de Cuauhtemoc and Comision Feminil Mexicana; WW2 aircraft workers; and women’s lives/women’s work (women’s history. (35 narrators, 93 hours).
COMMUNITY STUDIES - 91 narrators, 195 hours
Topics: focus on Long Beach, Signal Hill and Terminal island and includes discovery/extraction of oil and subsequent economic, political and social changes; building of community institutions, including the university; Terminal Island Japanese fishing village; work/lives of oil workers (labor collection) and Mexican workers on Rancho Los Alamitos (Mexican American collection); and women community builders (women’s history).
For more information on VOAHA, contact Project Directors, Sherna Berger Gluck or Kaye Briegel
* Two series do not fit neatly into the four general categories: jazz composers, arrangers and performers (4 narrators, 7 ˝ hours, in Musical Developments in Southern California Collection; and a set of interviews with residents of Cambodia who recount their lives after the fall of the Khmer Rouge to the first elections in 1993 (10 narrators, 18 hours, largely in the Khmer language, in South East Asian Collection).
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