Dallas Public Library and buildingcommunityWORKSHOP to collect oral histories of west Dallas, south neighborhoods

Dallas, TX Long-time residents of Dallas’ western and southern neighborhoods can preserve their photographs, letters and other document through a new collaboration between Dallas Public Library and buildingcommunityWORKSHOP, a local community design center.

The first “History Harvest” will take place at the Dallas West Branch from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, April 27. Participants can bring up to five items about the history of their neighborhood to have digitized and added to the library’s archives. Oral histories will also be recorded for a series of short films about the neighborhood. All participants will receive digital copies of their contributions.

“Our branch libraries are so often the community gathering places for the neighborhoods they serve,” said Jo Giudice, Director of Libraries. “It is a wonderful thing to partner with buildingcommunityWORKSHOP and be able to collect those unique stories before they are lost to history.”

Additional History Harvest events will take place at the Polk-Wisdom Branch and the Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch later this year. Exhibits of the digitized materials will be shown at the respective branch libraries in fall 2019 and winter/spring 2020, including a final show in June 2020 at the Central Library featuring stories collected from all three neighborhoods.

“We’re excited to expand our Neighborhood Stories work through this partnership with the Dallas Public Library. The goal of this work is to amplify the stories of residents across the city; working with the Library will enable a level of preservation and future access that we’ve never been able to achieve before,” said Lizzie MacWillie, Associate Director of buildingcommunityWORKSHOP.

The project is possible thanks to a recently-awarded Common Heritage grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and builds off buildingcommunityWORKSHOP’s work collecting and preserving Dallas’s local histories as they relate to changes in the physical and cultural form of the city. Through oral histories and physical artifacts like photos and documents, the project will document how these changes have had an impact on Dallas’s historic communities of color and how residents experienced cultural and demographic shifts in their neighborhoods during the Civil Rights period and beyond.

For more information, contact Lizzie MacWillie, buildingcommunityWORKSHOP Associate Director, at 214-252-2900 or lizzie


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