Oral History used for Historical Fiction

“Ami Polonsky’s newest book for young readers, World Made of Glass, is set in 1987 and features Iris, a 12-year-old facing her father’s death from AIDS. In an era when the president hadn’t uttered the word “AIDS,” Iris copes with her grief and anger at losing her father and the discrimination he and his friends face, and finds solace by getting involved with ACT UP, the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power.” Read full article here and see the interviews here.

Let the Record Show

“Sarah Schulman’s superlative new book, “Let the Record Show: A Political History of ACT UP New York, 1987-1993,” about AIDS activism during a time when the disease was blotting out queer communities in the US. The 700-some-page tome is a bracing addition to an ongoing field of research and testimony on AIDS history, a corrective to previous accounts that have elevated some perspectives over others and latched onto only a handful of figures.” Read the full story about the book here and listen to an interview with the author here.

Houston’s Response to AIDS

When Sarah Canby Jackson set out to research Houston's response to the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and ’90s, she was soon shocked — there was virtually no scholarship on how the fourth-largest city in the United States responded to one of the most significant public health crises of the 20th century.  I found nothing," Jackson said. "I expected to find master's theses at Rice and the University of Houston. I expected an oral history project, but I found none of that." Read full article here.

AIDS Prevention

The Project is an online exhibit featuring graphics, documents, and photos from the Archives' Public Health collection, with video-recorded oral histories from leadership and staff from the AIDS Prevention Project. The oral histories were funded by a 4Culture Heritage Project grant.  See article here and link to exhibit here.

Australian HIV/AIDS Crisis

As part of the 2014 International AIDS Conference, taking place at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre this month, the University of Melbourne is convening an AIDS ‘Witness Seminar’, an opportunity to capture testimony from several individuals who were influential during the height of the AIDS crisis, and reflect on the critical role of government and academic institutions in determining and communicating policy at that time.  For full story click here.

World AIDS Day Play

As a part of World AIDS Day, a new theatre work focusses on the experience of young gay men in the 1980s, revisiting the past without preaching to the present about the epidemic and its influence on Sydney’s gay community. “I’m trying to target two audiences,” The Death of Kings writer by Colette F Keen.  “The old guard and the younger community who have been lectured to and told ‘when I was young’ over and over again.”  Keen and Deusien previously collaborated on a verbatim piece telling the stories of the 9/11 first responders, but the origins of Death of Kings came about in a different way, when a friend of Keen’s made an off-the-cuff statement. “He’d been through the ‘80s in Sydney and he just said ‘I’m really frightened that 30 years on the people who survived are going to die and although we have oral history saved in libraries all we will hear are American stories.”  Built on interviews that took place between January and December 2012, the show tells the tales of a varied group of gay men.  For full story click here.

African-American AIDS Activists

Since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the U.S., people of color have contracted HIV at a disproportionately high rate. And in response, African-American men and women have worked hard to educate their neighbors about the disease and to alert officials to the severity of the epidemic in black communities.  "But if you look at what has been written about AIDS in America, you would think that the only AIDS activists were white, gay men," said Royles. "It's time to tell the rest of the story." For full story click here.

Ryan White Oral History Project (AIDS)

More than 25 years ago, Kokomo (USA) was thrown into the national spotlight when a controversy erupted over 12-year-old Ryan White, a who was diagnosed with AIDS in 1984 after receiving a tainted blood transfusion. He was not allowed into his school for fear he might infect others and soon after became the national poster child for AIDs awareness. That quickly divided the community into two factions–those on the side of the school, and those on the side of Ryan White. For full story click here.