"Chinatown Telling Lives Oral History Project" Multimedia Exhibition Opens June 12, 2004

NEW YORK, June 9, 2004 - As part of the “Telling Lives Oral History Project,” students from Manhattan Academy of Technology (MAT) and Dr. Sun Yat Sen Middle School (MS 131) will be exhibiting their work on Saturday, June 12, 2004 at Silk Road Mocha Café, 30 Mott Street, New York. Members of the press are invited to speak with students, teachers, interviewees, and project staff from 4:30 to 6 P.M. There will also be a special student performance and presentation at MS 131, 100 Hester Street, from 2 to 4 P.M. that day. The multimedia exhibition runs through August 2004 at Silk Road Mocha Café and in the exterior display cases of Transfiguration Church, 25 Mott Street, New York.

The “Telling Lives Oral History Project” was created to help youth in New York City’s Chinatown use oral history methods to explore stories of their ancestors, their community leaders, and elders in Chinatown. Columbia’s Oral History Research Office (OHRO) and the New York University (NYU) Child Study Center partnered with the Museum of Chinese in the Americas and Downtown Community Television to train students in the art of oral history interviewing, and provide them with opportunities and resources to interview members of their community about how they survived major historical events such as September 11, 2001.

This past spring, over 200 middle school students from MS 131 and MAT worked with oral historians to interview ordinary New Yorkers with extraordinary lives. The students uncovered remarkable tales of survival through events such as the Holocaust and September 11, 2001, and heard compelling accounts of love, loss, and endurance in the everyday lives of recent immigrants and longtime New York residents. The “Telling Lives Oral History Project” exhibition brings these stories to life using sound, video, art, photography, and writing. The opening will feature the premiere of a student-produced 22-minute documentary, Chinatown Lives, which students produced under the guidance of Emmy award-winning organization Downtown Community Television.

The Columbia University Oral History Research Office is the oldest and largest organized university-based oral history program open to the public in the world. Founded in 1948 by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Allan Nevins, the oral history collection now contains nearly 800,000 taped memoirs, and nearly 1,000,000 pages of transcript. The program is also a center for teaching and research, offering opportunities for students, visiting scholars, and fellows. For more information, please contact Columbia University Oral History Research Office, 212-854-2273.

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06/09/04 JD