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Category: Cultural Heritage

Dr. Melissa Cooper delivering a lecture as part of the American Folklife Center's Benjamin A. Botkin Lecture Series at the Whittall Pavilion at the Library of Congress.

Botkin Folklife Lectures Plus: Dr. Melissa Cooper, Scholar of Gullah Geechee Cultural History

Posted by: Douglas D. Peach

On April 10, 2024, Dr. Melissa Cooper (Associate Professor of History, Rutgers University-Newark) presented a fascinating lecture on Gullah Geechee cultural history at the Library of Congress, as part of the American Folklife Center's Benjamin A. Botkin Lecture Series. In this post, we highlight the video recording of Cooper's lecture and an oral history interview with Cooper, conducted by American Folklife Center staff members.

Two interviewers with interviewee, standing in the streets of New Orleans.

COVID Recollections: “People Make the World Move”- Pandemic Stories from New Orleans-Area Service and Hospitality Workers

Posted by: Douglas D. Peach

In this post, guest authors Sara T. Bernstein and Elise Chatelain, members of Dismantle Media and Culture Alliance, describe their experiences documenting the COVID-19 experiences of service and hospitality workers in New Orleans as part of the American Folklife Center's COVID-19 American History Project. This post is the first in a new Folklife Today blog series titled, "COVID Recollections." The series features stories, dispatches, and reflections from the COVID-19 American History Project, a Congressionally funded initiative to create an archive of Americans' experiences with the COVID-19 pandemic at the American Folklife Center.

AAPI hosts wokshop and itneriews with VHP Los Angeles, CA, May 2023.

Celebrating AAPI Heritage Month with VHP interviews in Los Angeles

Posted by: Lisa Taylor

The following is a guest blog post by Andrew Huber, a liaison specialist for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project (VHP). The idea of an event focusing on collecting stories from Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) veterans all stemmed from a simple question asked during a VHP workshop in 2020. I was teaching …

Candace Milburn with the contencts of the African-American veteran themed "Go Box"

Black History Month ‘Go Box’ – Surrogates from the Veterans History Project Collection

Posted by: Lisa Taylor

The following is a guest blog post by Candace Milburn, a liaison specialist for the Veterans History Project (VHP). You might ask, “What’s the meaning behind a ‘Go Box?’” To answer your question, the story began when former VHP Director Karen Lloyd shared that during her service in the Army, each service member was given …

Violet Hill Gordon in uniform.

The Courage to Deliver: The Women of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion

Posted by: Lisa Taylor

The following is a guest blog post by Nathan Cross, an archivist for the American Folklife Center. This African American History Month, the Veterans History Project (VHP) is pleased to announce a new resource designed to introduce VHP’s holdings related to the veterans of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, an all-African American, all-female unit …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

“A Central Thread of Our History”: African American Heritage Lasts Longer than a Month

Posted by: Guha Shankar

“In the case of American Negroes, their labor founded the nation and was prime cause of the industrial revolution and the capitalist system of the modern world:  their slavery, revolt, escape, protest and emancipation is a central thread of our history: and without their music and laughter American art and literature would never have attained …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Flashbulb Memories: Where Were You When…?

Posted by: Lisa Taylor

Flashbulb memories are those vivid, autobiographical memories that form when we learn of a particularly surprising, traumatic or impactful event. These kinds of memories burrow themselves deep into our memory banks, and often remain dormant until triggered to resurface. An image. A sound. A scent. Anything, really, can be the catalyst that sets the wheels …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Folklife at the International Level: Happy Anniversary to the 1999 UNESCO-Smithsonian Meeting

Posted by: Michelle Stefano

The Folklife at the International Level series has set out on a winding road, tracing the concept of “intangible cultural heritage” (ICH) as developed through a series of international initiatives over the course of the late 20th century. As the signs posted throughout have indicated, this road leads to the global framework for ICH promotion and …

A man playing a guitar and singing to a close crowd of a dozen or so men and women

Folklife at the International Level: the National Endowment for the Arts National Heritage Fellowships, with Clifford Murphy

Posted by: Michelle Stefano

Our journey in the Folklife at the International Level series last took us to long-established East Asian “Living Human Treasures” programs for safeguarding intangible cultural heritage (ICH). As discussed, during the 1990s, UNESCO recommended to Member States that they adopt similar systems of subsidizing (or, at the least, officially recognizing) people in their own territories …