Prep Work

Due to our final project’s extensive nature, we’ve already started the leg work. My partner for the project is my classmate Vinny, and earlier this evening we met and began brainstorming. Here is the result:

First we decided on roles. Vinny is going to conduct the interviews and I will man the camera. We discussed possibly switching the roles each session, and we will work out those details in the future.

March 14th: After the lecture, we will meet our senior for the first time. Vinny and I plan to introduce ourselves and tell Mrs. Jefferson about our own backgrounds in order to establish a rapport. When introducing ourselves, we will be honest and try to find common ground with her. Then, we will explain the project in our own words so Mrs. Jefferson will know what to expect for the next few weeks. We will encourage her to ask us questions so everyone is on the same page. We will reinforce that we want the project to be a true reflection of her life and emphasize that Mrs. Jefferson’s input will be the driving force behind our project.  Mrs. Jefferson’s comfort is of the utmost importance to us, so we want her to be at ease. Conversely, we don’t want her to feel patronized; we don’t want her to think we’re only asking her these questions as a novelty, or on a whim.  We are both genuinely interested in learning about Mrs. Jefferson’s life and experiences.  We have agreed that honesty is the best way to both abate Mrs. Jefferson’s  hesitations and earn her respect and trust.

We’ve brainstormed an ice breaker questioned,  to use in the event that progress moves slow initially. Since we’ll be asking her about Germantown, an area that people from our walk of life have many misconceptions about, we plan on asking Mrs. Jefferson what she thinks about La Salle. If nothing else, this will show her that we’re interested in her opinion and want to see things as she does.

1.     We will get to know our senior by asking about her life in general. We’d like to find out about her family, where she lived initially and what was her life like there? Why did she move to Philadelphia?

2.     The questions that we’ll be asking will be grouped into themes. While we realize that a prepared interviewer should have questions in mind, we simultaneously acknowledge that being too stringent with our planning will bog down the interview process. As such, we will be basing our projected questions around themes:

a.     March 21­—Before the Migration

i.     Where did you live in the South? What was life like in the South? What traditions did your family have? What was a typical day like for you family? How did you spend your time together? How many siblings do you have? Did you all attend the same school? At what point did you realize that you were going to move to the North? What influenced your family’s decision? At the time, how did you react to the news that you were leaving your hometown? Were other family members or friends moving at the same time? How did your family leave the South? How long was the journey?

b.     March 28—After the Migration

i.     Where did you end up staying in Philadelphia? What was your initial reaction to your new surroundings? What was your new house like? Was it larger or smaller than your first home? How did you adjust to your new social surroundings? Was it difficult relating to your new neighbors? Did you stay in touch with any of your friends or family back in the South? If so, how often did you communicate? Did you ever consider going back to the south? How did the Civil Rights movement affect your experiences in the north? Did you find any animosity? If so, how did you overcome it?

c.      April 4—Reflecting on the Migration

i.     Now, as an adult, how do you feel about the Migration? Do you identify more with the south or the north? Was it worth moving?  If you were growing up today, do you think it would be easier to cope with a similar transition? Why?  Do you think  that the difficulty of the move has shaped  your character? Has growing up in difficult times shaped your character? Have you ever shared your story of the Migration to your grandchildren? If you have, what is their reaction? Awe? Embarrassment? If you haven’t shared your story, why not?

This meeting was very successful. Vinny and I were able to share ideas and establish a firm basis for the future of our project. Seeing as we will be working closely together for the next few weeks, it was important to not only establish an outline for the project, but to get to know one another as well. If you’re interested in checking out Vinny’s blog here’s the link.


One response to “Prep Work

  1. Huntly Collins

    Plan sounds excellent, Emily. I like the theme approach. I bet this will work. In terms of the March 14 get-to-know-you session, I’m not sure I’d ask her what she thinks of La Salle. I bet she knows almost nothing about La Salle unless she’s Catholic. That question seems more oriented to the two of you rather than to her. I’d make as much of it as you centered on her. But play it by ear.

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