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 was conducted in Hudson, NY on July 20, 2012 with Pamela Badila. Pamela’s husband, Elombe, passed away in Hudson on July 10, 2012. Her interview mostly consisted of speaking about him, their family, the strength she receives from their ten children and the importance of community and spiritual beliefs at this time. Her optimism and resilience were palpable. She expressed how much she loved her husband and how significant he was to the Hudson community, even though he did not speak English.
She described a memorial march Hudson held for him along Warren Street replete with community members wearing bright colors and following the couple’s nightly route down to the river where they watched the sun set. She described his coffin and a ritual she shared with her children that included artfully painting it and placing mementos inside, including two feet of her own hair placed like a halo around his head. “He loved my hair,” she said.
Her life history included growing up with twelve siblings; meeting her husband in Paris; her career as a dancer, playwright and painter; raising their children; moving to Hudson over a decade ago; confronting racism but she calls “ignorance.” She critiqued the Hudson school system while praising the informal homeschooling she enabled for the children.
This interview might interest people interested in the experience of an African family in a small town upstate New York and how radically they impacted the larger community.
I run a small oral history/biography/memoir business called “Rampant with Memory,” where I help people establish an archive of lives and stories. Although it has been traditionally in print, I’m now moving into creating podcasts and oral records. I am a freelance journalist and publish feature obituary essays in the Globe & Mail, Canada’s national newspaper. I also publish a range of alternative publications, mostly Canadian, covering issues on the left. I work at Our Times Magazine, an independent Canadian labour magazine. I’m a creative non-fiction essay writer and have published fairly widely as such. I’m also a poet.
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.”