Alexandria McIntosh tells Herbert Sweat her life story as Mr. Sweat practices his interviewing skills.Last Thursday, six new volunteer interviewers for the NYC Veterans Oral History Project met at Mid-Manhattan Library to learn about the project and discuss best practices. Several volunteers have family members who were in the military and plan to interview them so that their stories are preserved for future generations.
Alexandria McIntosh, entering the 11th grade this upcoming Fall, plans to interview her mother and is looking forward to this experience as a way to build skills that she can bring with her to college. Tom Reichert has already conducted several interviews for the project and is interested in collecting more stories of WWII veterans.
There was a surprise appearance from Herbert Sweat, a Vietnam veteran who has been interviewed for the project and hopes to record stories of veterans who are part of Black Veterans for Social Justice in Bedford-Stuvesant, Brooklyn.
After beginning this workshop with a discussion about oral history, we delved into the interview structure and practiced with some mock interviews at the end. We all agreed... it's truly a life practice to learn how to listen!
At Outreach Services, we're planning to continue oral history interview trainings, meetups and workshops. Stay tuned for our next meeting and please send an e-mail to AlexandraKelly@nypl.org if you're interested in participating in the NYC Veterans Oral History Project—either by interviewing a veteran or telling your story.