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Oral History Association Annual Meeting FAQs

How do I get to and from the airport?
There are several ways to get from the airport. The Concourse Hotel does offer a free shuttle. Taxi fare to downtown is between $15 and $20. A Madison Metro Transit bus runs from the airport to downtown every 30 minutes between 6:00 am and 10:30 pm for $2. Check for specific time and routes.

What if I have an A-V issue?
The OHA supports each session room with a digital projector and audio amplification. Participants must bring their own laptops. For the full OHA audio-visual policy, go to: In case of a problem, contact that registration desk, and the a-v technician on call will be summoned.

When is the authors’ signing event?
Friday from 3:15-3:45 in the Exhibit Hall. Only those authors who have been cleared in advance with the OHA office may participate.

Where is the business office?
On the first floor of the hotel, behind the stairs leading to the lobby.

What are OHA conference check-in and registration times?
You may pick up your registration materials or register onsite from 8:00-5:00 Wednesday through Friday, and from 8:00-4:30 on Saturday. Registration will be on the second floor at the top of the stairs.

When is the community showcase?
The community showcase, featuring oral history projects from Madison and the Upper Midwest, will be held 1:30-4:30 on Saturday, in Capitol Ballroom A.

How do I sign up for the dine-arounds?
There will be sign-up sheets for the dine-around dinner groups near the registration desk. The groups will gather at 5:45 on Friday in the hotel lobby.

What about food?
In addition to the hotel facilities, there are numerous and diverse eating establishments within block of the hotel, on State Street and around Capitol Square.

How will the University of Wisconsin football game effect the meeting?
There will be a home football game against Illinois, time still TBA. Parking may be hard to find, and restaurants may be crowded. You might make a reservation in advance.

When are the interest groups meeting?
The eight interest groups are meeting 4:30-5:30 on Thursday. See the online program for more details.

What is there to do in Madison?
Madison is a very vibrant community. Nearby attractions to the hotel include the state capitol, the Saturday farmer’s market on Capitol Square, the Wisconsin Veteran’s Museum, the Wisconsin Historical Museum, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art and the Chazen Art Museum, as well as the renowned Wisconsin Historical Society library and archives. There is also a bike share program. For more information, go to: or

What if I want to purchase a ticket for a meal?
Additional meal tickets can be purchased at the registration desk.

How do I get to off-site sessions?
There are three off-site sessions. Two events will take place in the University of Wisconsin Memorial Union: the conference kick-off event on Wednesday evening, “Uncivil Disobedience,” an oral history-based performance about the 1970 bombing of the University of Wisconsin’s Sterling Hall; and the Thursday evening presidential reception and the concert afterwards by legendary jazz bassist Richard Davis.

Turn left out of the Madison Concourse and cross Carroll to State Street. Turn right on State and continue walking for about six blocks. When you see Memorial Library on your right, you may cross Library Mall to reach Memorial Union. If you want to stay on the street, walk until State ends at North Park Street. Turn right, pass the Wisconsin Historical Society building, and Memorial Union will be the next building on the right. It is approximately a 15 minute walk.

One event will be held in the Madison Central Library: the Friday evening screening of the film “Private Violence” concerning domestic abuse. To reach the library, turn left out of the Concourse, bear left on Fairchild St., and turn right on Mifflin. It is about a 4 minute walk.

If you have ambulatory issues, please contact the registration desk and a hotel shuttle will be arranged.

Where can I obtain sundries?
Sundries are available next to the hotel front desk. There are numerous retail establishments within a few blocks of the hotel.

How do I refer to the conference on Twitter?
Use #OHA2014. We encourage participants to tweet about the conference, share photographs, and so forth.

What about wifi?
There will be free wifi in all conference session rooms. Select “Madison Concourse” from the available networks on your device. When you reach the connection page, agree to the Terms, then connect. It may look as though you need to enter a password, but you do not. The code will be provided at the registration desk.

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OHA Annual Meeting: Spotlight on Academics as Activists

The Friday morning plenary session will explore the experiences of academics as activists. In several nationally significant political movements in recent years, including major showdowns in Wisconsin and North Carolina, academics have played crucial roles. The panel will feature oral historians who have taken an active role in local, national, and international movements

Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, Julia Cherry Spruill Professor of History, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is past president of the Organization of American Historians, the Southern Historical Association, and the Labor and Working Class History Association and an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Hall’s research interests include women, labor, and the American South. Hall was an early pioneer with the nationally recognized ‘Moral Mondays’ campaign to protect North Carolina citizens from disfranchisement and other civil rights abuses.​ She was awarded a National Humanities Medal in 1999 for her efforts to deepen the nation’s understanding of and engagement with the humanities. In 2013, she received the Mary Turner Lane Award for outstanding contributions to the lives of women at UNC-Chapel Hill. In addition to her teaching and research, she served as the founding director of the Southern Oral History Program from 1973 to 2011.

Ian Lekus is an LGBT Thematic Specialist for Amnesty International USA and a Lecturer in LGBT Studies at the University of Maryland. Before moving to the Washington, D.C. area to pursue a career in human rights advocacy, he trained students in oral history at Harvard, Duke, Tufts, and the University of Georgia. His careers in advocacy and academia are both dedicated to exploring how we imagine and organize social transformation, and what are the limits and obstacles to that work. He is especially interested in the role storytelling plays in generating cultural and structural change.

Jeffrey W. Pickron is a lecturer in the history department at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh specializing in United States labor and urban history. He was the oral history coordinator for the Black Thursday Oral History Project and has worked on several oral history projects focused on labor and social movement history. In addition to his scholarly work, Pickron has worked as a labor organizer and led a campaign to achieve collective bargaining rights in the UW System and organize a campus union. He was also was active in efforts around Wisconsin to resist Governor Scott Walker’s bill to rescind public sector bargaining rights.Rachel F. Seidman is the Associate Director of the Southern Oral History Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. An historian of U. S. women’s activism, Seidman co-founded and co-directs The Moxie Project UNC: Women and Leadership for Social Change. The Moxie Project is an innovative curricular program that integrates coursework in women’s history, oral history research on women’s activism, and summer internships in local women’s organizations. Seidman serves as a Scholar Advisor to Women Advance NC, an independent nonpartisan educational institute dedicated to improving the lives of North Carolina’s women, and she helped launch the North Carolina Women’s Summit, which brings together feminist scholars and policy experts to share information with North Carolina women about the policy decisions affecting their lives. Students in Seidman’s course on Women in the Public Sphere at Duke University started the Who Needs Feminism social media campaign, which has spread around the world, building awareness and giving voice to the ongoing need for the feminist movement.

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OHA Annual Meeting: Spotlight on Documentary Film “Private Violence”

Private Violence, an HBO documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, intimately reveals the stories of two women: Deanna Walters and Kit Gruelle. This feature-length documentary film explores a simple, but deeply disturbing fact of American life: the most dangerous place for a woman in America can be her own home. Every day in the US, at least four women are murdered by abusive partners. This film follows Kit Gruelle, an advocate for victims of domestic violence and herself a survivor, as she assists Deanna Walters, a victim held hostage by her husband who lived through a horrific beating, in her pursuit for justice. Through multiple interviews with Gruelle and Walters as well as having a camera follow them as Walters takes legal action against her husband, the film grapples with a key question often asked of domestic violence victims, “Why Didn’t She Just Leave?”

Private Violence shatters the brutality of this logic. Through oral history we bear witness to the complicated and complex realities of intimate partner violence. As Deanna transforms from victim to survivor, Private Violence begins to shape powerful, new questions that hold the potential to change our society: “Why does he abuse?” “Why do we turn away?” “How do we begin to build a future without domestic violence?”

The film screening is co-sponsored by the Dept. of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Wisconsin. Dr. Malinda Maynor Lowery, Director of the Southern Oral History Program and a producer on the film, will discuss the making of the film before the screening and facilitate a discussion with the audience afterward.

This session is funded in part by a grant from the Wisconsin Humanities Council, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is free and open to the public.

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OHA Annual Meeting: Spotlight on Richard Davis “My 80 Years with the Bass”

The Saturday night awards dinner will feature an oral history interview with Richard Davis, who was named a 2014 Jazz Master by the National Endowment for the Arts, the highest honor that the United States bestows on jazz musicians. Davis is Professor of Bass, Jazz History, and Combo Improvisation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Regennia N. Williams, Associate Professor of History at Cleveland State University and OHA Council member, will conduct the interview.

A virtuoso musician and an award-winning educator, Davis brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his work. For more than fifty years, he has drawn enthusiastic audiences in Japan, Europe, Russia, South America, Puerto Rico, Cuba, The West Indies, Hong Kong, Israel and United States. One of his most recent CD releases, The Bassists: Homage to Diversity (King Records) was recorded in Japan. This recording was inspired by experiences related to diversity dialogue. His second CD with King Records So In Love was assembled with the idea of embracing the oneness of humankind and to commemorate the events of 9/11/2001. A new CD will present the music of Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn. Davis has long been active in the development of programs for students at the pre-collegiate and post-secondary levels. Among other projects, in 1993 he founded the Richard Davis Foundation for Young Bassists, Inc., which brings in masterful bass instructors/performers to teach young bassists ages 3-18. In 1998, he created the Retention Action Project (R.A.P.) to nurture multicultural understanding on campus by bringing together university representatives and social-change activists from around the country. In 2003, he added to his University curriculum a course in “Racism, Racial conditioning and the Oneness of Humankind” through the FIGS program (First Interest Groups) for first year students. Davis also takes his message beyond the university via his nonprofit Institute for the Healing of Racism.

In recognition of his accomplishments, Davis has received numerous awards and honors, including the University of Wisconsin’s Hilldale Award for distinguished teaching, research, and service; the Spencer Tracy Award for Distinction in the Performing Arts (Wisconsin Historical Society); and the City of Madison’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Humanitarian Award.

Dr. Regennia N. Williams is an Associate Professor of History at Cleveland State University. She is also and the founder and director of “Praying: African American Faith Communities: A Documentary and Oral History” project and the Initiative for the Study of Religion and Spirituality in the History of Africa and the Diaspora (RASHAD). In 2013, she conceived and directed “Come Sunday @ 70: The Place of Duke Ellington’s Sacred Jazz in World History and Culture, c. 1943-2013,” a project that included scholarly presentations and performing arts activities. Her current oral history research is related to the Civil Rights Movement and school desegregation in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Featured Institutional Member Spotlight: The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at the University of Florida

The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program is the official oral history program of the University of Florida, in Gainesville, Florida, featuring over 5,000 interviews and more than 150,000 pages of transcribed material in the SPOHP archives and UF Digital Collections.

SPOHP’s primary mission is to gather, preserve, and promote living histories of individuals from all walks of life. SPOHP engages in active research projects designed to broaden the scope and scale of historical knowledge with major projects, including the African American History Project, Veterans History Project, Mississippi Freedom Project, and Latina/o Diaspora in the Americas Project. Staff and students strive to make collections accessible to as wide an audience as possible through written transcripts, digital archives, podcasts, radio broadcasts, and public programs.

SPOHP also teaches the craft and intellectual traditions of oral history through university seminars and community-based workshops. In addition, SPOHP consults on an ongoing basis with local historians, civic leaders, and educators in Florida and beyond who are interested in initiating oral history projects in their towns and municipalities, and engages in scholarly and educational life in Florida and around the country through public history programs, academic conferences, and scholarly collaborations.

The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program: One Community, Many Voices.