Drawing on the first hand stories of unhoused people’s working experiences, “Whose Town?” seeks to offer insight into the complicated reality of low-wage labor in Washington, DC. The site draws upon twenty-one oral history interviews that were conducted in 2015 in locations across downtown Washington, DC. The participants in the project primarily include able-bodied single men and women who live in downtown shelters.
Twenty-four first year students at American University took the Oral History Workshop led by Dr. Daniel Kerr as a learning module connected to the scholars program. The module took place over four weeks. The interviews, approximately 45 minutes each, have been indexed by the students. Twelve students chose to donate their interviews to American University Public History Program’s oral history repository. The collection includes audio files, audio indices, and interview guides.
Displacement, Resistance, and the Future of the CCNV Shelter in Washington, DC
Students at American University worked with residents at the Federal City Shelter in Washington, DC to build this site. Through a series of hunger strikes in the 1980s, the Community for Creative Non-Violence established the shelter. Today the facility faces threats from commercial developers. Can public history projects play a role in sustaining communities that are under threat of displacement?
This site houses the oral histories and podcasts done as a part of a collaboration between the American University Public History program and the Shelter Housing and Respectful Change (SHARC) group in the Fall of 2012 and Spring of 2013. It is designed to facilitate discussion regarding the causes of homelessness in Washington DC so that we can can reflect on more effective strategies to build a movement to end homelessness.