This oral history interview is an intimate conversation between two people, both of whom have generously agreed to share this recording with Oral History Summer School, and with you. Please listen in the spirit with which this was shared.
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This oral history interview with Beverly Hayles was conducted in her kitchen in Claverack, NY on 20 July 2012 for the Oral History Summer School 2012 project. Beverly Hayles is the only African-American teacher at Hudson High School. She begins the interview by discussing her arrival in Columbia County in July 2007. She goes on to talk about the challenges of emigrating from Guyana to the United States, and her experience as the only black teacher at Hudson High. She provides a detailed discussion of the challenges in the education system in Hudson, including parental involvement, teacher involvement, and administrative issues. She emphasizes the importance of love and understanding as an effective teacher. Beverly then discusses her experience as a foster parent of more than thirty children over a fifteen-year period, some of its joys and difficulties, and the ways that it has affected her life as a teacher. She then discusses her faith in God and its importance as a source of motivation and inspiration. Her interview closes with a brief discussion of her experience as an Exchange student in Scotland, where she learned that love overcomes preconceptions of race.
I was born in 1976. I teach history at Dawson College in Montreal, Canada. I am interested in oral history because I see it as a way to expand the historical archive to include voices that are often left unheard. I also think that putting audio files on record is very important, as I see the human voice as an important conduit of information that cannot be captured in writing. My interests in this summer school project were originally to develop pedagogical materials for my history courses at Dawson to better engage my students. In learning more about Hudson, I realized that building an archive of its residents’ voices would enable future historians to hear from a wider diversity of people in order to see the complexities of a place, hearing about some of the ways different people lived in an era where homogenization might appear to be the dominant mode of life.
This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please click here to inquire about permissions.
Oral history is an iterative process. In keeping with oral history values of anti-fixity, interviewees will have an opportunity to add, annotate and reflect upon their lives and interviews in perpetuity. Talking back to the archive is a form of “shared authority.”