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Oral history project set for Homecoming

Published or Revised November 07, 2005

Paris Junior College history instructors and their students will interview World War II veterans and civilian workers during PJC’s Homecoming celebrations Nov. 10-11 as part of a project to collect oral histories about the war.

These invaluable stories provide vivid personal accounts of the battlefield and the home front during one of the most critical periods in modern history, according to PJC history instructor Allen Williams.

Williams said interview stations will be set up in the Mike Rheudasil Learning Center on the Paris campus for the video and audio recording of interviews. Alumni and friends attending Homecoming will be invited to listen to the interviews. “It should be interesting,” Williams said. “I hope a good number of veterans can attend this homecoming.”

PJC’s Homecoming celebrations this year center around the area’s veterans, with the highlight coming on Saturday, Nov. 11, when all World War II veterans who attended Paris Junior College will be inducted into the school’s Hall of Honor.

History instructor Lisa Johnson said her students will donate a copy of their interviews this year to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress, where they will be available to a national audience of interested students and scholars.

Johnson added that in addition to military veterans, both the PJC project and the Library of Congress project also seek interviews from civilians such as war industry workers who were involved on the home front in supporting the war effort, those who worked at Camp Maxey, storekeepers and others such as volunteers who organized scrap metal drives or other efforts.

“I want to make sure we get a good representation of the community as a whole, including women and minorities, in our history collection,” she said.

Instructor Matt White will participate in the project with students on the Greenville and Sulphur Springs campuses. Dual credit instructor Judy Falls and her students are collecting written interviews, as well. More than 30 interviews have been collected thus far.

The collection of interviews eventually will be available in the Paris Junior College archives.

For more information, contact Allen Williams at 903-782-0724 or Lisa Johnson at 903-782-0752. Those interested in contributing oral histories are encouraged to call or write to schedule sessions.

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