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 interview was conducted with Kayah Payton at the office of Promise Neighborhood in Hudson, New York the morning of July 1, 2017. Kayah was born and raised in Hudson and is currently an Americorps worker at Promise Neighborhood, an educational support program for at-risk youth. She has lived in Hudson most of her life, departing for college in Alabama, and later living in Albany, New York for eight years before returning to Hudson two years ago. Kayah discusses the changes that she has noted in Hudson especially since her return, including the lack of affordable housing and food. She talks about what it was like to grow up in Hudson, her experiences in the public schools, and her relationships with her mother and her grandmother. Kayah has worked with children most of her life, as an educator and child-care worker, and she reflects on that experience, the difficulties children and their parents face today, and issues of school discipline and curriculum. She also discusses national and local politics, including voter apathy. She was a resident of the high-rise (Bliss Tower) as a child and as an adult and briefly reflects on that experience, as well.
This interview would be of interest to those concerned with the experiences of African Americans in Hudson over the past forty years; changing patterns of racial and ethnic diversity in Hudson; public education, including school discipline; public housing in Hudson; impacts of gentrification; social justice efforts in Hudson; and foodways.
Andrea Friedman is a professor of History and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Washington University in St. Louis. She is collaborating with a local grassroots history project, the St. Louis LGBT History Project, on several public history efforts, including creating a community oral history archive as well as a digital map of twentieth-century LGBTQ history in the St. Louis metropolitan region. She is new to oral history and is excited to learn about it and teach her students about it as well.
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.”