Oral History

Oral history is a method of collecting and preserving a record of the past through first-person accounts of everyday life. An oral history is a recorded interview that elicits the interviewee’s firsthand knowledge and recollections.

Our collection

We are creating a community archive of interviews with Flatbush-PLG community members. By collecting recordings of our neighbors’ life histories, we aim to document Flatbush-PLG’s rich culture and history through the eyes of the people who live here and to foster dialogue about the neighborhood’s future. Our archive will eventually be available for public listening on this website and will also be accessible through the Brooklyn Collection at the Brooklyn Public Library. We are actively searching for a permanent archival home for our collection. A sampling of our oral history interviews can be listened to here: https://voicesoflefferts.org/listen/


A Community History of COVID-19

We are living through unprecedented times. In order to document history from where we stand, we have launched an oral history collection about our community’s experience with the global COVID-19 pandemic.

We are currently looking to connect with any community members who would like to share their experience of COVID-19—whether you are housebound, ill, unemployed, self-quarantined, or in any other way affected by the pandemic. As an interviewee, you will participate in an oral history interview lasting 20-60 minutes,  conducted by phone or computer. There will be no scripted questions. You may choose to focus on one aspect of the pandemic’s effects, share your overall experience, and/or  discuss the pandemic in the context of your life history, however you see fit.

Your interviewer will be a Flatbush-PLG community member. Interviews will be recorded, and you will receive a copy of your interview. Your interview will become part of the Voices of Lefferts oral history collection, which will eventually be available for public listening on our website and through the Brooklyn Collection of the Brooklyn Public Library.

Sign up! Oral History Interviewer Training

Interviews in our collection are conducted by volunteer interviewers who are also Flatbush-PLG community members. We hold periodic oral history interviewer trainings to provide volunteers with the skills to interview their neighbors, family members, and friends. No prior experience is necessary. Trainings provide an overview of oral history ethics and methodology, and recording techniques. (Due to COVID-19, we are currently training interviewers remotely and using remote interviewing techniques.) After receiving training, interviewers are invited to contribute interviews to our collection.

Information about upcoming trainings is posted here and shared through our mailing list.

Sign up to be interviewed