The Lehigh Valley Engaged Humanities Consortium Mellon Grant has recently collaborated on a series of events highlighting the importance of Oral History in community engagement. The first of these events was a November 27th presentation on oral history practice and social justice movements by cultural anthropologist and oral historian, Amy Starecheski. In conjunction with the Friends of Skillman Library, the Lafayette College Queer Archives Project and Lafayette Women’s & Gender Studies, the LVEHC invited Amy to Lafayette’s campus to share her presentation, “Oral History & Community Engagement: How to Use Oral History to Change the World.”
In attendance at this event were several members of an emerging collaboration between local chapters of the NAACP, the Sigal Museum and the LVEHC. Amy’s discussion of oral history as a tool for social justice work was particularly relevant to this group ahead of their December 6th roundtable discussion on “The History of the Black Experience in Easton.” This event was the first in what will be a series of collaborative efforts planned between the NAACP and the Sigal Museum with collaboration from the LVEHC. The discussion, attended by roughly 50 individuals including Lafayette students and regional community members, featured discussants Marvin Boyer, Lillian Robinson, Reverend Don Griffin, and John Robinson. The discussion was co-facilitated by Charles Dickerson and Charlotte Nunes and covered an array of themes and topics, from police brutality to inspirational figures in the history of Easton.
These events highlight the LVEHC Mellon grant’s support for local histories and narratives. In addition to these ongoing collaborations, funding is available for projects across a variety of categories with a focus on narratives from the past 50 years in Lehigh Valley. You can learn more about the grant initiative and funding opportunities here, as well as collaborative opportunities here.