When studying monumental events such as the U.S. Civil War, emancipation of slaves, or women's suffrage, we tend to forget that these happened fairly recently in history. The 19th amendment was ratified barely 100 years ago, which means that even now there are individuals living who were born before women had the right to vote. Oral history projects, such as those conducted by the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History here at UK, can capture these stories and memories before they are lost to time.
Remembering the Vote and Much More Oral History Project, recorded in the 1980s, focuses on the women’s suffrage movement in eastern Kentucky in 1920. Local women recollect their experiences from that time, their memories of election days, as well as general attitudes and opinions on women voting.
Brainstorm. List 10-20 words or phrases about the documents/items. (Start with the details of the document, like topic, names, publication, etc. What do you find interesting? Strange? Do you find anything appealing or disturbing? Things you don’t understand or are unfamiliar with?)
Articulating Problems. Formulate 2-4 possible problems that could be developed from the above list of words and description of materials. (Problems can be found by looking for tensions between ideas, conflicts between your own experience and what the text/image presents, assumptions underlying the arguments of the text/item, or if you notice any gaps or missing information overlooked by the source).
What can we learn from these women’s recollections?
What are some biases in play?
What gives their stories authority? What should we be wary of?