“Oral history is not necessarily an instrument for change; it depends upon the spirit in which it is used”
I always assumed the purpose of history wa to give an honest account of an event, as to preserve it valor for future generations. After my first lesson in Black history, i learned how untrue and unfair history could prove itself. The spoils of history always goes to the victor, and often times, embellishes his conquest. The ways in which Africa has been degraded within the media eye is a product of a historical narrative, usually expressed by the means of oral proliferation. The idealisms held about the majority of white culture is no mistake either. y telling stories in a certain manner, one can shape the world.
This quote resonates with me because of its ambiguity and pivotal message. It puts into perspective the ways in which we learn. Most people hold true to the hardcover books placed in front of highschool students. I did not question them because I assumed the written more legitimate than the spoken. Being told of my history and the history of others seemed less real and more like folklore. I believed the black and white text more truthful than the vivid words spun into great story of triumphs. The harsh tone and straight forwardness offered a stern history written, offered a more realistic account. The boston massacre seems more violent and gruesome than most stories I heard of slavery or the genocide the Native Americans faced. These stories were harder to believe for me because they were not properly documented and did not offer the full story.
Oral history is a means by which a story can change and take life. I thought this aspect of change meant the story had no legitimacy, but the fact a story can be told a thousand times and the same sentiment resonate the same truths speaks volumes. The colorful words and ideas complicated by cultural motifs and personal biases paints a fuller picture for the viewer of history. The fact that a story can be changed does not limit it, rather it opens its possibilities, mending the to it reader. The personal narrative gives a introspective look at the world through the eyes of history, offering anecdotal evidence accompanied by the larger widely accepted facts. This is true history. The untold and sometimes supernatural, speaking to the themes and ideas that are rooted in a shared experience.
An intimate conversation between few people can change the course of history, simply by the way the story is told.