About this project
the beginning of the AIDS epidemic, African Americans have borne a
vastly disproportionate share of the HIV disease burden in the United
States. Men and women in black communities have mobilized to
stop the spread of HIV and AIDS, but looking at what has been written on
the politics of AIDS in America, you would think they had done almost
nothing. The African American AIDS Activism Oral History Project
collects the stories of a diverse group of remarkable individuals--men
and women, gay and straight, direct action organizers, policy advocates, and public health
professionals--who have worked to educate their communities about
HIV/AIDS and to alert officials about the severity of the epidemic in
black America. The interviews that result from this project will be
archived for the use of future scholars at Temple University, so that the
work of these men and women won’t be written out of the
history of AIDS activism in the United States. Excerpts of the
interviews will also likely appear in book form as an edited collection,
so that these stories can inspire audiences everywhere.
This project is already underway, but needs community support! Most of the money raised here will help me pay a professional transcription service get the narrators' words into print. Just to work through the backlog of untranscribed interviews will cost about $1200, and adding another 15 interviews to the mix will bring that number closer to $4000. Without funding, I'll have to do all of the transcription myself, which is basically impossible given that I'm also writing a dissertation. The remainder of the budget will cover travel expenses, so that I can collect stories from around the country, and equipment, which has already set me back over $1000, out of pocket. Altogether, a fully funded project means that interviews will come from all over the country and that they'll be available to the public sooner rather than later.
Risks and challenges
Up to this point, the biggest challenge has been lack of funds, which is what brought me to Kickstarter. I have been transcribing the interviews myself, which is incredibly labor intensive, and takes away up time that would be better spent collecting interviews. I've also covered a lot of the cost of travel related to the project myself, which is hard to pull off on a graduate student’s very limited budget. So, a successful Kickstarter campaign would help solve the time and money problems that have kept the project from reaching full potential. Otherwise, the project has gone smoothly. Interviewees have been eager to share their stories, and incredibly generous with their time in doing so. If you would like to share your story with the project, please send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I have talked informally with an academic press about publishing portions of the project as an edited collection. They’re very interested in doing so, and we have plans to talk further in the next few months. If, for whatever reason, they lose interest, other publishers would likely be very interested in the project. If I can’t secure a publisher, I will look into options for self-publishing, but at this point that seems extremely unlikely.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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