What is an oral history?

According to the Oral History Association, "oral history refers both to a method of recording and preserving oral testimony and to the product of that process. It begins with an audio or video recording of a first person account made by an interviewer with an interviewee (also referred to as narrator), both of whom have the conscious intention of creating a permanent record to contribute to an understanding of the past. A verbal document, the oral history, results from this process and is preserved and made available in different forms to other users, researchers, and the public."

Oral histories are used to record elements of history that are often not apparent in other documents. When used in combination with other research materials, oral histories help to provide a more accurate view of history. These oral histories from the Buford Highway community complement the records and artifacts in the Social Change Collection of the Georgia State University Library’s Special Collections and Archives Department (where the Buford Highway oral histories will be archived), and are invaluable to the larger research community.

What is the Social Change Collection?

Established in 2009, GSU Library's Social Change Collection is dedicated to documenting select social movements, primarily in Georgia, and includes materials related to social activism, community building, education policy, civil and gender rights, civil disobedience, student activism, the death penalty, homelessness, and the environment.

Who is eligible to participate in the Project?

We invite immigrants and refugees, and their descendants, who arrived in or were raised in and around the Buford Highway Corridor from 1950 through the present. This includes Buford Highway-area residents, property owners, business owners, and people who were employed or are currently employed by Buford Highway-area business owners.

I know someone who should definitely be interviewed for this Project. How can I refer them for an interview?

Currently, we are accepting referrals only if you are willing to make a personal invitation or introduction, and your referral is actually interested in being interviewed. Please have the person you want to refer to this Project fill out the Pre-Interview Questionnaire, and they will be contacted by our Project Architect.

Who conducts the interview?

Interviews are conducted by volunteer Listeners who have been trained in oral history or journalism. In the Project's first year (2018), interviews will be conducted exclusively by members and staff of We Love BuHi or the Atlanta branch of the Asian American Journalists Association, and any additional partner organizations, to establish a clear and effective methodology for interviews conducted in succeeding years.

In which languages will the interviews be conducted?

We recognize the importance of language in the practice of oral history and believe that language can be a powerful means for facilitating inclusion and community building and learning. Initially, as we strive to (1) establish a clear and effective oral history methodology and (2) build capacity for this Project, we will conduct a limited number of interviews in English only. Thereafter, we will conduct interviews according to the language preference of our narrators.

Will the recordings be audio or video?

Our oral history interviews will be audio recordings only.

How many interviews do you plan on conducting?

The goal of this Project is to gather a collection of 125 to 150 oral history interviews, comprised of materials that may include audio recordings, text transcriptions, and related photos and documents. Initially, we plan to record 20 interviews in 2018.

Where will interviews be conducted?

Thanks to our partners at the DeKalb County Public Library and The Globe Hub, interviews will be conducted at various library branches during regular operating hours and/or at The Globe Hub. Please contact our Project Architect Gina Yu at gina@welovebuhi.com to coordinate an arrangement that works best for you. Due to our desire for high-quality recordings, we will need to conduct interviews in a controlled environment free from background noise and interruptions.

Do you accept artifacts and other three-dimensional items?

The Library has a limited amount of space available for three-dimensional items, and the likelihood that any such donations will be accepted is very small. Original two-dimensional items such as letters, photographs, and certificates may be accepted on a case-by-case basis subject to the determination of the Georgia State University Library Social Change Collection archivist Katherine Fisher. You may reach her at 404-413-2880 or kfisher11@gsu.edu.

Does the Project accept financial contributions and in-kind donations?

Yes. Contributions from donors are accepted to support this Project so that current and future generations will understand and appreciate the experiences of the people and families who have made and are making Buford Highway the extraordinary community it is.

If you would like to make a gift to the Project, please send a check payable to We Love BuHi to We Love BuHi, Inc., P.O. Box 14723, Atlanta, GA 30324, with "Oral History Project" in the memo line.

If you are interested in making a direct gift to support the archival and preservation work of the Georgia State University Library Special Collections and Archives, please contact the Georgia State University Library Social Change Collection archivist, Katherine Fisher, at 404-413-2880 or kfisher11@gsu.edu.

Do you have other volunteering opportunities besides interviewing?

Yes. Please contact our Project Architect Gina Yu at gina@welovebuhi.com.