This post was written by guest blogger Darby Reiners, an MA Candidate in Public History at NC State University.
This summer Katie Vanhoy, Kathy Gleditsch, and I worked on going through the oral history collection for the Cedars in the Pines exhibition. We focused on finding specific quotations about Lebanon, different people’s journeys to the United States, and stories of experiences people have had once they arrived in North Carolina. We also kept an ear open for any interesting and compelling things that people shared about their experiences. The snippets we found will be used to highlight the Lebanese experience through personal monologues in the exhibition.
We looked through all of the oral histories provided by both the first wave of Lebanese immigrants and the second wave. It was very fascinating to see the similarities and differences between the two generations of immigrants. Many people had similar stories about why they came to the United States as well as important aspects of their culture that they maintained such as food and education. Listening to these individuals’ stories not only showed us the interesting characteristics of another culture, but also how they reminded us of similarities to our own families and heritage. This project provided us with insights into the Lebanese culture and showed us how important it is to preserve and maintain one’s cultural heritage.
This isn’t the first time we’ve written about oral histories for this project. Check out the post, “The Importance of Oral History” here. And, while we’re at it, if you haven’t perused our YouTube channel recently, you can find excerpts of past interviews here.