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.
This interview is hereby made available for research purposes only. For additional uses (radio and other media, music, internet), please inquire about permissions.
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This interview with DezJuan Smith was conducted on July 1st, 2017 at Promise Neighborhood in Hudson, NY. DezJuan is a 12 year old student and book lover living in Hudson. He moved to Hudson from Florida with his mother and siblings a few years ago. In the interview, DezJuan discusses his relationship (or non-relationship) to the town of Hudson. He speaks about how unlike his other classmates who spend time outside playing sports, he spends most of his day indoors, mostly in the house, the library, or Promise Neighborhood. He describes his passion for helping people and about how he organized a school wide janitor appreciation day. He reflects on his favorite books and passionately describes the plot, and he describes in detail how the characters are feeling and how reading them makes him feel. At first, he was tentative to answer questions in full but by the end of the interview he could not get enough of talking about whatever was on his mind— his imagination and getting lost in it, the color blue, trees and nature.
This interview would be of interest to parents and those who are curious about children who tend to be shy or keep to themselves. It would also be of interest to teachers and educators in Hudson who are looking to improve quality of life here for local kids.
Matia Emsellem is a Bay Area based video and performance artist. She identifies as a prison abolitionist and does documentary and teaching work on theater as rehabilitation in prisons.
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.”