Logging Lives with Lydia: “Preserving the History of Joliet: An Oral History Project”

Oral History

Over the course of my college career as an English major, I have been introduced to various types of writing including, but not limited to, professional, creative, and analytical. I have had experience with designing a CD cover using Photoshop, writing recursive poems in creative writing, and writing research essays on Julius Caesar and The Pre-Raphaelites, but I had never created narratives from interview transcripts and recordings. Now, as a senior, I have been introduced to a style, which before recently, I had not known at all–oral history writing.

This brings me to the details of the project. A local Baptist Church in Joliet, IL, by the name of Second Baptist Church, is recognized as being the oldest African-American Church in the Joliet area. In April of this year, the community will celebrate their 140th anniversary. For previous anniversaries, the Anniversary Committee of the church has put together a collection of photographs into a book; however, they aspired to create a project much larger than this, seeking the support of the Lewis community. Thus, the project began in the Sociology Department where students of various classes conducted interviews with the members of Second Baptist Church and then transcribed them. Similarly, the Art Department crafted spreads of what would become the design of the anniversary book. The design would then include a number of 400-word narratives based on the original interviews, and this is where I come in!

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