Bridging the Gap from Generation to Generation: Oral History Projects Connect Communities

June 04, 2009

Assistant Professor of History Julian Chambliss, Coordinator of the Africa and African-American Studies Program, challenged the students of his “Race and Ethnicity in the United States” class to explore issues of family, community, and race outside of the classroom.

Students were paired with high school students from Rollins College Upward Bound program and instructed to write research papers and create poster displays based on a community centered perspective of race and society over time.

The projects utilized oral history techniques as Upward Bound students shared their family narratives and collected personal stories from community “elders.” Rollins students then placed these narratives within a broad U.S. history context, resulting in a cross generational dialogue about family and community.
“My hope was that the course readings and course assignments allowed my students to see links between class themes and the family narratives they collected,” said Chambliss. “Each poster has a family story, photos, and consideration of broader class themes that shaped the poster presentation’s style and tone. Overall, I believe the poster provide intriguing glimpse into the lives and experiences of the Upward Bound participant. For my students, these posters provided another means for them to explore broader issues.”

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