Education, Storytelling

Step One of a Digital Narrative Project

(To start, in a post on lesser-known stories note the iconic bus I can’t get out of my head.)

New Media & Innovation Director Jack Brighton and I have narrowed the material I’ll be working with for my digital preservation practicum. I’ll be digging through the civil rights audio and video from WILL’s American Archive Pilot Project, a cataloged database of WILL and UIUC civil rights material dating back to the ’50s. As of late I am going to focus on desegregation in Champaign, a fascinatingly well-documented topic for the area.


Primary Source Documents


It is far too soon to be thinking about the narrative that can develop from this. However, I attended a workshop on Friday titled Putting the Movement Back Into Civil Rights Teaching, which came out of the book of the same name. Presented by one of the authors Alana D. Murray at the College of Education, this group of teachers and future teachers assured me of the need to tell stories of unsung heroes. Of course this project will do that naturally, as the voices are of community members and local young people. 

What I see often is non-dominant language fitting under and conforming to the dominant narrative. It is easy to tell the story of how everything was shit (segregation) and then everything was golden (desegregation), but what about in between and today? Has the desegregation carried the weight we imagined? The Youth Media Workshop oral histories completed less than a decade ago reveal some of that, but I still need to look for a story within the story. This is serious business, and since I spend my time doing anything but practicing writing story like I should be, it will be a challenge.



Leave a Reply