Oral History

A definition and examination of oral history.

A brief examination of the importance of oral history in providing a collective view of a historical event. The paper explains that it can be defined as the narrative of individual human lives and experiences. The paper also briefly discusses the oral history narratives in the project/book, “Central City Blues”, which involves various California jazz and blues narratives.
“However, one of the benefits of music and film entering the mainstream acceptance of high culture is the recognition by historians that heard, lived, and even personal experience are also a valid historical form of documentation. Writing is not all that matters, our own culture’s shift in emphasis from the world to the voice and image instructs us. Oral history is a different form of history than history recorded by those who never lived through the events, but it is still history, and an important component of understanding the past. One of the most valuable aspects of oral history lies in the fact that it is able to bring to life the physical, lived experience of individuals in the moment of history, that would otherwise be lost in an overly intellectualized, analytical framework.”