Sewanee DSpace Repository
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ItemSouthern History Oral Project-Kaleb Seay (Narrator: Erika Seay)(University of the South, 2023-12-07)John Luke Lasseter (JL) was born in Dothan, Alabama, but his family currently resided in Ashford, Alabama. John Luke currently attends the University of the South: Sewanee. He is in his third year, and is looking to obtain his undergraduate degree in Economics. What made this interview special was being able to see John Luke open up and try to give insight into the Black Lives Matter movement. Everyone else I have had the chance to interview is a person of color, but I thought it would be special to see a white person from Alabama’s opinion on the matter. Although JL made it clear that he can’t relate to a black person, he said that he stands with the movement and makes an effort to understand the situation blacks are in in America. It was special to hear JL compare his high school’s reaction while also hearing his hometown’s reaction. With his high school being predominantly black he says that voices were loud and he got to see and understand a situation that most white people don’t get to. He compares it to the response of his hometown which was all lives matter, blue lives matter, etc. He talks about how he felt about the response “All Lives Matter” and gives us insight on why his opinion was his opinion. John Luke allowed listeners to hear from the perspective of white America allowing us to educate and bridge the gap between races. Both people I consider my best friends got together to provide dialogue from two different backgrounds on a movement that is present today. ItemBlack Lives Matter Oral History Project Interview: Stephanie van Reigersberg(University of the South, 2023-11-12)Abstract - Stephanie van Reigersberg Narrator: Stephanie van Reigersberg Interviewer: Eli Bastiaansen Date: 12 November 2023 Location: The narrator was located in McLean, Virginia while the interviewer was located in Sewanee, Tennessee. The interview took place over Zoom with the audio recorded using “Voice Memos.” Length: Fifty-three minutes Born in a small conservative town in St. Joseph Missouri, Stephanie van Reigersberg moved to Poughkeepsie, New York, to attend Oakwood Friends, a progressive Boarding School where van Reigerbserg first met the Chief Interpreter of the United Nations and began her path to becoming an interpreter. Van Reigersberg discusses her service with the United Nations in newly independent African nations including Ethiopia where she worked at the Economic Commission for Africa. Additionally, van Reigersberg articulates the importance of education and social media in broadening people’s perspectives despite the threat of fake news. Van Reigersberg outlines her outrage at hearing the news of a lynching in her hometown as well as the immediate downplaying of the event by family members and members of her community. She states the importance of contemporary media and technology in emphasizing the gravity of the murders of individuals including Trayvon Martin and George Floyd. Conversations with friends as well as Isabel Wilkerson’s book, “Caste: The Origins of our Discontents” informed van Reigersberg on systemic racism in the United States, helping frame her understanding of racial relations and the Black Lives Matter Movement. Van Reigersberg identifies the failures of education as part of the reason why systemic racism and police brutality continue to define race relations in the United States. Van Reigersberg cites an increase in the number of individuals of color in government as evidence of the success of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Moreover, she alludes to the relationship between the struggle for Black rights and the struggle for gay rights. Black Lives Matter emphasized the need to understand one’s positionality and privilege; everyone being part of this racial caste that subjugates Black individuals. This interview is part of the Black Lives Matter Oral History Project (BLMOHR) to document reactions, opinions, and interpretations of the Black Lives Matter movement. ItemBlack Lives Matter Oral History Project Interview: Nick Psarakis(University of the South, 2023-11-17)Abstract - Nick Psarakis Narrator: Nick Psarakis Interviewer: Eli Bastiaansen Date: Part 1: 17 November 2023 and Part 2: 20 November 2023 Location: The narrator was located in Colorado Springs, Colorado while the interviewer was located in Sewanee, Tennessee. The interview took place over Microsoft Teams with the audio recorded using “Voice Memos.” Total Length: 111 Minutes; Part 1: 34 minutes Part 2: 77 minutes Born in an old colonial town in New Milford, Connecticut, Nick Psarakis attended Colorado College for his undergraduate degree and the University of Colorado Boulder for a graduate degree in American History. Psarakis is currently in his 29th year of public school teaching in Academy District 20 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. One of Psarakis’ first contacts with the Black Lives Matter movement came while teaching about Ferguson, Missouri, the city where Michael Brown was killed, in an AP Human Geography course. The city of Ferguson offered Psarakis the opportunity to teach as well as read more about the legacy of redlining and white flight in the evolving residential patterns in suburban America. Additionally, Psarkis spoke about the initial design for a Black History course as prompted by the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the death of John Lewis. In designing the curriculum for the course, Psarakis initially relied on John Hope Franklin's textbook, “From Slavery to Freedom” which led to later controversies with the Colorado Springs Board of Education who questioned the textbook and its potentially divisive language. Psarakis had initially planned to title the course, “The African-American Experience,” but was forced to change the class name to “Black History” due to push back from district administration. Additionally, throughout the interview, Psarakis emphasized the idea that history does not occur in a vacuum. In other words, as a teacher, Psarakis attempts to draw connections between time periods in order to highlight the fact that the modern political and social landscape has its origins in history. For example, he describes how Former President Trump’s use of the phrase “Law and Order” is a deliberate reference to Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew who began using this term in 1968 as a code word to white voters. Psarakis discusses how the Black Lives Matter movement encouraged him to further educate himself on Black history. Lastly, Psarakis includes personal narratives to help articulate how, despite initial district pushback over the Black History class and criticisms of Republican presidents in the late 20th century, politics has always been deeply embedded in education. Psarakis claims that it is his role as a teacher to educate his students and provide them with an understanding of history in which they can use to analyze current events; it is through the learning of history that individuals are able to hold on to and give meaning to the past. This interview is part of the Black Lives Matter Oral History Project (BLMOHR) to document reactions, opinions, and interpretations of the Black Lives Matter movement. ItemBlack Lives Matter Oral History Project Interview: Luke Bastiaansen(University of the South, 2023-11-04)Abstract - Luke Bastiaansen Narrator: Luke Bastiaansen Interviewer: Eli Bastiaansen Date: 4 November 2023 Location: The narrator was located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania while the interviewer was located in Sewanee, Tennessee. The interview took place over Zoom with the audio recorded using “Voice Memos.” Length: Forty-five minutes Born in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Luke Bastiaansen attended Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Urban Teaching from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a former Petey Greene Tutor at the State Correctional Institute (SCI) of Chester, Pennsylvania and currently teaches in the School District of Philadelphia. The interview began with a discussion of Bastiaansen’s transition to Philadelphia, a majority-minority city, as well as his experiences as a tutor in carceral settings. These experiences allowed Bastiaansen to recognize the importance of social and racial justice as well as education as a form of liberation. Bastiaansen views teaching and education as a source of power that can create change and work against the systemic policies that preserve and reinforce the school to prison nexus. Additionally, Bastiaansen discusses his reactions to the Black Lives Matter movement, stating that the countless murders were sadly an unsurprising reality due to the strength of white power, perpetuated by capitalism. With the rise of social media, Bastiaansen articulates his fears that as support of Black lives was abandoned, the protests for Palestine will be similarly dismissed and forgotten due to the quick news cycle that social media has created. Bastiaansen transitions into speaking about the importance of protests as well as the need to sacrifice individual social power to achieve justice. Bastiaansen argues that the Black Lives Matter movement successfully raised publicity but it did not create significant change due to the strength of white power. He explains the motivations for his current occupation as a teacher and concludes by describing the Black Lives Matter movement as a cultural movement. Bastiaansen emphasizes the importance of education, love, and sacrifice in countering systemic issues that subjugate Black individuals. This interview is part of the Black Lives Matter Oral History Project (BLMOHR) to document reactions, opinions, and interpretations of the Black Lives Matter movement. ItemBlack Lives Matter Oral History Project Interview: Judith Kaufmann(University of the South, 2023-11-25)Abstract - Judith Kaufmann Narrator: Judith Kaufmann Interviewer: Eli Bastiaansen Date: 25 November 2023 Location: The narrator was located in Falls Church, Virginia while the interviewer was located in McLean, Virginia. The interview took place over the phone with the audio recorded using “Voice Memos.” Length: Fifty minutes Born in Chicago, Illinois, Judith Kaufmann moved to Cincinnati, Ohio before working internationally as a Foreign Service Officer. Kaufmann cited three formative experiences in her childhood. First, Kaufmann recognized the lessons of open mindedness and empathy she learned from her father as shaping her views of other cultures and groups. Second, she mentions how the Chicago Board of Education attempted to preserve school segregation by redrawing district lines; Kaufmann’s school in Chicago, Illinois was eventually integrated with the Black population receiving little to no support or aid from the school or Board. Lastly, she highlights her move to a public school in Cincinnati, Ohio where there was a significant amount of interracial socializing and interaction. Kaufmann then discusses the evolution of how people receive the news from relying on three to four television and radio stations to modern day in which individuals turn to social media. As a result of this development, the public is no longer forming opinions from the same common sources of information. Additionally, Kaufmann articulates that the Black Lives Matter Movement was too easily reduced to slogans and thus the Movement’s message was easily misinterpreted and distorted. Kaufmann also identifies the significance of the Covid pandemic in the rise of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Kaufmann joined committees and programs designed to support Black individuals and attempted to educate herself on issues of systemic racism in housing and education. Kaufmann questions the effectiveness of the Black Lives Matter Movement. She discusses the continued polarization of politics and the rise of identity politics that alienate groups and ultimately increase the racial gap. This interview is part of the Black Lives Matter Oral History Project (BLMOHR) to document reactions, opinions, and interpretations of the Black Lives Matter movement.
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