College campuses have a long history as sites of activism and protest. It’s a truth acknowledged easily enough by today’s students, who have witnessed and in some cases participated in current movements like Black Lives Matter, #NoDAPL, and the Women’s March on Washington, among numerous others. What may be less apparent is the role the college plays when the activism dust settles.
At Dartmouth, the archivists of Rauner Special Collections Library are committed to recording the College’s history—the history of many years ago and the history of yesterday—through primary source documents. Campus activism is a significant part of this history, and one of the most effective ways of capturing it is via first-person narrative.
Oral history is an interview-based approach to documenting the past, centering around an in-depth, recorded conversation between two people: the oral historian and an individual who experienced a particular event, era, or culture firsthand. Because of its emphasis on non-dominant perspectives and marginalized voices, oral history is uniquely situated among history methodologies to document moments of protest and dissent. It is, at its heart, a means of telling stories that might otherwise have gone untold.
This exhibit explores three protest movements in Dartmouth’s past, and a selection of oral history interviews with individuals who experienced them. These interviews and many more are available at Rauner Special Collections Library.
Exhibit curated by Caitlin Birch, Digital Collections and Oral History Archivist, and designed by Dennis Grady, Library Education & Outreach.
Baker-Berry Library, Berry Main Street: May 1 – July 30, 2017