Each district of any city has its history, accumulated over many years. The story can be saved both by gathering records in archives and with the help of people who have experienced historical events and are ready to tell about them. The purpose of this essay is to review and respond to a video on students’ work on the oral history project of East Garfield Park.
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The project is dedicated to restoring and studying the history of this Chicago area. Students are implementing this initiative by conducting various interviews. As they discover, the story of East Garfield Park began in 1871 with a massive fire that left most of Chicago in ruins (Interrupted Media, 2016). Such an enormous disaster led to the need to expand the city. Thus began the story of East Garfield Park, as the construction of new residential buildings attracted a large number of migrants of various nationalities, from Irish to Germans (Interrupted Media, 2016). Unfortunately, this migration was soon stopped by the Great Depression, which limited the growth of construction and forced people to seek new approaches to settling people, for example, breaking up existing houses into many small apartments.
After a brief historical excursion, students proceed to a direct survey of participants. They interviewed individuals who came to this area of Chicago after World War II, talked with people who found a church where Martin Luther King Jr held meetings (Interrupted Media, 2016). Each of these conferences allowed adding new elements to the general history of the district, revealing details about the life of people in Chicago. Many people also expressed their hopes for the future of this area and shared their values, for example, advising everyone to be kind with their neighbors (Interrupted Media, 2016). During the project, students learned more about the life of African-Americans in the area and why many of them came here, and what difficulties they had to face.
Thus, this video is a perfectly mounted film that gives an idea of the history of East Garfield Park as a district and the life of people in it. It allows everyone to learn more historical details about this place, as well as to take several essential ideas out from the conversations. The project itself is unique and deserves attention, and the students themselves deserve gratitude for the work they have done.
Interrupted Media. (2016). Breakthrough Film Club – East Garfield Park 40 blocks project [Video]. Vimeo.