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Oral History Program Launches This Week

Provided by Prince William County

An oral history can provide useful, interesting and insightful information on people and places. The Woodbridge Civic Association is embarking on a six-month effort to record the oral histories of Woodbridge residents. The civic association is working with George Mason University and the Prince William County Library System’s RELIC Program.

Launch of the Program

The purpose of the oral history program is to capture “a day in the life of a Woodbridge resident” through audio recordings of old and new residents. Woodbridge District Supervisor Frank J. Principi believes that the oral history will go back 75 years or more.

The program will be launched during the association’s meeting on Thursday, Sept. 20, from 6:30-9:00 p. m. at Harbor View, 13200 Marina Way, Woodbridge. The meeting is open to the public.

During the meeting, resident panelists will be asked how long they have lived in Woodbridge, what neighborhoods they lived in and the characteristics of those neighborhoods, where they worked and how was their commute. The questions will also cover the major changes people have seen in Woodbridge over the years.

How to Participate

Woodbridge residents interested in participating in the oral history program  can call Principi’s office at 703-792-4646 to learn more or to make an appointment to be interviewed. “We hope to get about 100 recordings through March,” said Principi.

What Happens Next

The recordings will eventually wind up at the Library of Congress as part of the library’s “StoryCorps” project, which gathers firsthand, recorded accounts of the events in the lives of people from across the country. “People from all over the world will be able to get in and learn a little bit about Old Woodbridge,” Principi said.

Principi said there’s a difference in what people talk about and what history books reveal. “We get a different perspective that, I think, is very rich. Everybody shares a different perspective, by race, by color, by creed, where they lived, where they worked, where they shopped. A private citizen or business owner provides quite a lot of value to learn from history, and it’s fun to learn about our own past.”

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