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Selha Graham

June 29, 2016


Hudson, NY


Recorded by

Jess Holler

This interview is available in-person only. Please get in touch if you would like to listen.
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This interview with Selha Graham was conducted on June 29th, 2016 at The Hudson River Laundress at 40 George Street in Hudson, which Selha owns and manages. In the interview, Selha expresses a wish to talk about current affairs — including contemporary violence against people of color and Muslims — and its impact on her personal and family life in Hudson, and her vision for her and her children’s future. Selha speaks about the experience of being a Muslim woman in Hudson — including her decision to stop covering — and other topics in identity and community life: how she navigates fear for her and her children’s safety, her family experiences, her Jamaican and Brooklyn roots, and the origins of her entrepreneurship. She also speaks to the power and personal significance of managing and maintaining community business and gathering spaces, who her community is in Hudson and beyond, and divisions and solidarities between ethnic communities in Hudson, including between and amongst people of color and Afro-diasporic peoples. Selha distinguishes this interview from an earlier interview she participated in with an Oral History Summer School student, and spends much of her interview reflecting on the impact of the events of the last year on her worldview and outlook. Selha is an alumna of Oral History Summer School; and she also reflects on her interest in oral history practice.

This interview may be of interest to people interested in women’s experiences in Hudson, in what it is like to be a Muslim in Hudson in 2016, the lived experience of people of color in Hudson, Jamaican Diasporic communities, navigating family and motherhood, business and entrepreneurial experiences and the formation of entrepreneurial sensibilities; and perspectives on the changing cultural and political life in Hudson. It may be of particular interest to those seeking understanding of the everyday impact of the racial and religiously-motivated violences of 2015-2016 on one Hudson resident, and her vision for the future.

Interviewer Bio:
Jess Holler

Jess Lamar Reece Holler is a folklorist and oral historian from Columbus, Ohio. Her oral history and applied folklore work has focused on issues in personal health, environmental justice, food access, and food justice; and she has been particularly interested in documenting stories about how people come to connect questions of food, health, and environment; and in experiences of home, place, displacement, and place-related trauma and memory. In Summer 2016, she is working on an oral history project with the Eastwick community in Southwestern Philadelphia around environmental justice, displacement and the multiple attachments of home; and a statewide project documenting the rise of organic and ecological food system in her native Ohio.

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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.

Part of this interview may be played in a radio broadcast or podcast.

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.”

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