Juneteenth Virtual Workshop: Creating Oral Histories

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Before the festivities begin at Shady Rest, take a virtual "Roots and Wings" journey. Start on your family's or neighborhood's story.

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Before the festivities begin at Shady Rest later this afternoon, take a virtual "Roots and Wings" journey that will get you started on preserving your family's or neighborhood's unique story. Melinda Allen-Grote trained the team that is collecting oral histories in the Kramer Manor neighborhood, and we want to share the techniques we learned with you, our neighbors. It is all about the stories!

Members of the Kramer Manor team will talk briefly about the oral histories we are collecting for "The History of Kramer Manor, a Twentieth Century Black Community," a history program made possible in part by a 2021 HEART (History, Education, Arts Reaching Thousands) Grant from the Union County Board of County Commissioners and additional funding from Social Justice Matters. Then, we will introduce the woman who gave us the tools to start out...

Social Justice Matters has partnered with Melinda Allen-Grote, founder of A Remembered Voice LLC, to conduct a community based oral history training on June 19th as part of the Scotch Plains Junteenth celebration. This training will give community members a framework for conducting their own family recordings with tips and suggestions for creating memorable recordings. After a twenty-five year career in the non-profit community in Plainfield, Melinda founded A Remembered Voice in 2013 after recording a series of stories with a friend, Agness McLean, who grew up in the segregated south. The power of that narrative and the historical and emotional significance of hearing those stories compelled Melinda to create a business recording the testimonies of people’s lives. Those stories gave birth to A Remembered Voice. (www.arememberedvoice.com)

Since 2013, Melinda has recorded hundreds of family recordings and has worked with organizations and institutions to build useful libraries and archives of memories, interviews and testimonials. The richness of these stories continues to affirm her belief that every single story and voice matters.

After living in Plainfield for 40 years, Melinda and her family now reside in Monmouth County.

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