Archive for April, 2008



Journal for April 8th-15th, 2008

This week I had my first interview with MaryEllen Pitard, the current Catholic Campus Minister. She gave wonderful insight into the reasons for the current tension between CCM and St. Bede’s Parish, details about its working relationship, and suggestions on how relations could improve. After her interview, she provided the phone number for the convent where Sr. Berenice lives and another William and Mary alum who is currently a parishioner. I haven’t had any luck contacting them so far, but will keep trying. I have another interview tomorrow with a married couple who attended William and Mary and are now St.Bede’s parishioners who attend CCM masses. Today I am going to look at the Daily Press on microfilm in Swem and also look at the College’s History to see if there is any mention of an increase in Catholic student body members.

WDP Journal 4/7-4/14

This week has been rather hectic, and I haven’t been able to devote as much time to my project as I would have liked to. Catherine and I talked about how we might expand our project to include housing displacement of minorities in the Williamsburg area. As a case study we would examine the demolishment of the Tioga Motel and Rose’s Trailer Park. We were wondering how we might tie this thread in with our coverage of All Together. I was thinking that we could show steps people are taking to promote diversity and understanding in Williamsburg (i.e. the work done by All Together), but then also explore the underlying structural problems that hinder diversity and understanding in Williamsburg (i.e. Williamsburg’s tradition of housing displacement that most often affects lower class minorities). Also Catherine has been in contact with Mr. Baker, an older African American man who has lived in Williamsburg his whole life. We are hoping that he could give us some insight into race relations and racial diversity in Williamsburg over the years and how it has evolved.

Blog Post

After two productive weeks where I interviewed five people, I slowed down this week, as I had several end-of-the-semester projects due for other classes. I tracked down some sources, e-mailed some people about future interviews, and did some online research into the pro- and anti-Nichol websites.

I’m still waiting for important information from one of my sources, and I’m waiting for Jim Jones to get me contact information for a couple of people I’d like to track down. This week, I need to send out the release form to the sources I’ve interviewed thus far, and I’d like to finish up the rest of my interviews. I’ll have a lot of time to devote to my project this week, and I hope to finish most of the research.

Work Journal Post

Emliy C. Nunez

Tuesday April 8th:
Ellen sent me her information from her website on Women and William and Mary. I spent most of the day going through the site and looking up the sources she used.

Wednesday April 9th:
I went through the archives today. I found some pictures of Blow Hall when it was a gym and information on when women were first admitted. I also went through the old Flat Hat articles during the time women started coming to William and Mary.

Thursday April 10th:
I had a meeting with Mrs. Kale and once again was extremely helpful. Mrs. Kale emailed me pictures of Blow Hall and gave me other excellent resources. I am taking a tour with her class on Tuesday at Blow Hall and interviewing her on the 22nd.

Friday April 11th:
I searched for “Dr. Whittenburg” but I could not find her email address. I am still going to try and find her information because I think she would be an amazing person to interview.

Saturday April 12th:
I did not do research today.

Sunday April 13th:
I did not do research today.

Monday April 14th:
I once again spent the day in Swem looking for research material both on women coming to the college as well as material on the wall.

Journal

I finally located the screening dates of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” it turns out I wasn’t looking through 1963. The film was released Dec. 25, 1962, but was first played at the Williamsburg Theatre–according to advertisements in the Virginia Gazette–on May 1, 1963. It ran for four days, which seems fairly typical for the Williamsburg Theater. I scoured issues before and after the show dates, but as expected I did not see anything concerning the theater desegregation. I will keep looking through 1962 and 1963 this week.

My project seems to consist of a bunch of idiosyncracies that I’m trying to mesh into a coherent whole. I suppose I’m trying to understand the psychology of race in 1950’s and 1960’s Williamsburg, and the media is a great place to look. One particular edition of the Gazette had a segregated section for “News of Interest to Negro Citizens,” where a woman named Carolyn Lee Dewitt is pictured, having graduated from Cedar Crest College. I believe Ms. Dewitt is still alive, and I am currently trying to contact her for an interview, I believe my previous interviewees, the Austins, knew her.

Williamsburg during the early 1960’s also seemed to have an obsession with the March of Dimes, an annual fundraiser to combat polio. For the three or four years that I researched, they seemed to have an editorial and an editorial cartoon in support of the event. In 1961, Williamsburg appointed a black man, RG Parker, to lead the drive. Evidence, perhaps, of the more progressive side of Williamsburg that my interviewees have attested to, as well as the fluid nature of segregation in Williamsburg.

The Gazette also featured an opinion piece from the Gloucester-Matthews Gazette Journal on January 20, 1961. The Journal was complaining about Williamsburg hosting the “Episcopal Society for Cultural and Racial Unity,” arguing that Williamsburg was becoming a site for racial discord and potential violence. I scoured the previous Gazette issues for any news of this meeting, but could not seem to find any. Again, however, a bit of Progress?

To better understand the black experience in Williamsburg, I figure it best to talk to as many members of a single community as possible, to try to ascertain a sort of community psychology or “consensus” on Race and Williamsburg. Mr. Braxton was away last week, but he told me that he will call me this afternoon to set up interviews with all those on Braxton court who remember Williamsburg in the 1960’s. This week should, therefore, be full of interviews.

I also gathered last week a fair amount of secondary texts on race and cinema and race and the community, these titles include:

“Race, Neighborhoods, and the Misuse of Social Capital”
“Migrating to the Movies: Cinema and Black Urban Modernity”
“The Impact of Race: Theatre and Culture”
“Understanding Everyday Racism”
“Making race matter: bodies space and identity”

4.8-4.14

This week was kind of stressful and, to borrow Tim’s words, chaotic in that we were approaching the end of the project without any prospect of achieving our original goal that was conducting transgenerational interviews. However, with help from the class we are moving along much better now. Tim made contact Ashley Pinney, a student teacher who grew up in Williamsburg. We’ve scheduled an interview with her for tomorrow. On Wednesday we are conducting another interview with Andrew Mearns. Tim covered most of this in his posting, so I won’t bore you with more.
Yesterday, I spent a lot of time developing practical questions for the interviews. Tim and I briefly discussed them tonight, but we plan to edit them before the meeting tomorrow. Hopefully, these interviews will guide and restructure the scope of our project, and, depending on what we learn, a comparison between generations will still be possible by using the archives of the WDP.
Tim and I also discussed running a series of shorter, more informal interviews next week with other Williamsburg natives that pertain to some of the topics from tomorrow and Wednesday’s interviews.

Journal 4-8-08 to 4-14-08

I finally was able to pick up the article from W.C. O’Donovan’s office, so it did, in fact, answer some questions about the Last Word. There is still a lot more to be had. I am hoping to ge him down for a commitment for an interview this week. The article did have some good information, and also made the same link I was hoping to make regarding the importance of anonymity in political discourse.

I am just running into major roadblocks on a several levels including personal, academic and future plans (law school offers are coming in, finally). So I am just trying to stay on task and focus here. My goal is to nail down his interview this week, and if not him, someone else in town. From there I feel like I can really kick it into high gear.

4.8.08 – 4.14.08

This past week has been extremely chaotic so I lost track of what happened day by day, so I’ll list developments:

First, thanks to the recommendations from people in the class (particularly Ellen, Bobby, Brian, and Joe) Ellie and I were able to set up a couple interviews for this week. The first interview is tomorrow night with Ashley Pinney, who not only grew up here, but also works as a teacher, so I’m very excited about the interview. The second interview is on Wednesday night with Andrew Mearns, who is a freshman here at the college, so he hopefully has a very fresh memory of adolescent experience in the ‘burg.

We’re currently in the process of contacting people for additional interviews next week from all the contacts that y’all provided. It would be the last week of classes but hopefully one or two could be arranged, even if they’re just informal ones.

On Sunday, I talked to a friend of my roommate’s who had spent three out of his four high school years in Williamsburg as well, he goes to Virginia Tech now. He said that he’d be willing to discuss (over the phone) some of the issues that may arise in the preliminary interviews, so I’m excited. I’m hoping for a number of different perspectives to emerge, but with some common threads; the problem is there’s just so many things to take into account.

Also, I need to get one more interview from a previous project (I accidentally requested the wrong Robert Jeffrey’s interview from Evan when he gave me the old interviews), so I’ll talk to Evan after class.

What happens over the next couple of weeks should largely determine how our project will end up forming (for the end of the semester), so I’m trying to keep an open-mind up until crunch time. I am spending the summer in Williamsburg, so it may be interesting to keep pursuing the project even after we turn in the semester’s work. It might be easier to set up meetings with local teachers over the summer as well. I’ll have to talk about it with Professor Knight.

04/15/08

I was not nearly as productive this week as I would’ve liked to have been. On Tuesday evening I interviewed Elliot Wolin at Temple Beth-El on Jamestown Rd (thanks very much Ellen for indexing). The interview proved very fruitful which is promising for my paper. One very interesting comment that Elliot made was that his Jewish involvement was provoked largely by having children and desiring a Jewish education for them. Along with my last interview with Michael Cohen, I now have a better sense of the Jewish communities which differing demographics of Jews seek out. Other that that interview, however, I really didn’t get any significant work done this week. Next week I will definitely have to get back on schedule.

Journal 4/07 – 4/13/08

Journal 4/07 – 4/13/08
This week has been a week of final projects and papers due in other classes, thus less time has been dedicated to this class.

Monday
Nothing to report
Tuesday
Spent two hours this morning at corporate archives. I found a series of photographs that could prove to be useful. They created a list of amenities they wanted to include at the golf course. I thought it was interesting they made specific mention gender separate bathrooms and showers that include hot and cold water. Additionally, they say they want to create a space for a cocktail lounge, but Virginia law prohibits the sale of alcohol, or that’s what I understand.

Wednesday
Nothing to report
Thursday
Nothing to report
Friday
Hammer and I interviewed Pete Gyscek, owner of the only golf shop in Williamsburg. He gave us a lot of useful information. Hammer and I both talked about the interview afterwards over breakfast and noted that Gyscek was very reserved at the beginning, probably due to the seriousness of the paperwork we mailed him. In fact, he said he wanted to be mentioned as little as possible. After the interview was over, he admitted his reservations at the beginning, but felt much better about the process now.

Saturday
Nothing to report

Sunday
I began analyzing some maps I found online to begin the film I want to make. This film appears to be daunting, but I’ll work on it a little bit longer to see where I get.

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About

The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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