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According to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, Oral History is a field of study and a method of gathering, preserving, and interpreting the voices and memories of people, communities, and participants in past events.
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Explore the stories from iconic elders of African Americana and others who have shaped the culture in significant ways:
In this MTV Decoded episode from 2016, Francesca Ramsey examines 5 myths about slavery in the US that are just that, myths.
From the first group of enslaved Africans brought to Virginia in 1619, the US was founded on violence and theft against Black people. This history creates and undergirds the racism and White colonial supremacy culture that structures the everyday lives of everyone in the US today. This history is upsetting. It’s upsetting for those of us who have benefitted from it — everyone who has written this guide — and for those who have suffered from it. Stolen labor made stolen land more valuable, and the demand for land among White slaveholders accelerated the drive to force Indigenous peoples in North America off their land. We hope these resources inspire readers toward actions for Black liberation and social change.
If you find yourself struggling with emotions that come up as you engage with this history, we encourage you connect with resources and people that can support you, like the UO Counseling Center and Diversity and Inclusion Student Support from the DEI Division of Student Life. For those in the UO community who are survivors of racial violence, of gendered violence, or whose ancestors have been, this history can intersect with those more personal and communal experiences in ways that are particularly challenging. Please explore this project in ways that center your well-being as well.
Incidents of bias or harassment on campus can be reported to the Office of Investigations and Civil Rights Compliance or Bias Education and Response Team.
Seven University of Oregon librarians came together to select physical and digital textual, audio, and visual resources supplemental materials for the 2020-2021 Common Reading for the podcast, “1619”. These materials come from scholarly authoritative institutional sources from academic journals, academic books, popular reading, museums, and libraries. They were found using UO Libraries library catalog, subscription database, through the Internet, and from conversations with Black experts and colleagues. Additional UO librarians contributed to the pages for the novel, This is My America.
The content on this guide exists here to support supplementary resources to the 1619 podcast. The potentially harmful content on it is here to help those learning through the UO Common Reading to aid in understanding, analyzing, and reflecting on how slavery has shaped Americans’ everyday lives through politics, society, cultural, and economics. By facing this historical context and truth, the resources on this guide deepen our understanding of the experiences of enslaved Black people and how that history benefits some and disadvantages others to this day.
The resources available on this reading guide were selected based on:
The librarians involved in the creation of this “1619” research guide are working to help users understand the podcast and this content by:
We capitalized the terms Black and Indigenous in this guide where the terms refer to groups that share racial or ethnic identities. We also chose to capitalize the term White, except where it appears in a quotation, to reflect a growing understanding of White as a racial identity that shapes the world. That said, there is considerable debate on whether to capitalize the term White. We have chosen to follow the recommendation of the National Association of Black Journalists as well as the scholarly opinion of Historian Nell Irvin Painter.
Where we have identified potentially offensive or profane language, we have endeavored to include a content warning.
The Librarians who worked on this guide are listed below. We would like to also thank Kelly Reynolds, Reference Law Librarian, for her assistance with some legal information. We would like to express gratitude to Rachel K Mallinga for her advice and guidance about food sovereignty and local Black farming organizations.
We'd also like to acknowledge the Libraries' Diversity Committee, the Common Reading Program, and other stakeholder units and departments on campus who reviewed this guide's content.