CHOHP - Cherry Hill Oral History Project

Official page of the Cherry Hill Oral History Project. 
The Cherry Hill and Towson University students employ information literacy and research skills in order to understand how the Cherry Hill neighborhood was created, the historical significance of the neighborhood, and what it was like 40 or so years ago. The students then record interviews with elders in the Cherry Hill community, based on their research. The interviews are recorded for the creation of an oral history collection on the neighborhood and an increased understanding of our shared history.

Fall 2012 - Juanita Ewell by Paul Marks 
Paul was an intern at Cook Library this fall and on top of being introduced to the library, also had the opportunity to work on the Cherry Hill project. His comments and the video he created are below. 

Juanita by Paul Marks from Shannon Simpson on Vimeo.

The material for this video was gathered over one month throughout November-December of 2012.  Juanita was a very open and willing participant in the creation of an oral history for Cherry Hill.  Her story is important in that it involves more than a simple restating of historical facts—it involves an active engagement with the community. Juanita’s public garden project is a source of pride and hope for the often forgotten neighborhood.  Allowing her to speak about the project in the context of her upbringing in Cherry Hill reveals the deep roots she has in the neighborhood, as well as the roots she continues to sow.  - Paul

April 2012 Camera Day
I've missed posting on February, and March, but we had some great lessons including one on open and closed ended questions, when even the principal came and subjected himself to student inquiry. (Awesome!) This week we reviewed all of the questions compiled in our groups and then went over some camera techniques and got to try out our new skills. (I snapped a few myself.) Everyone is anticipating our day with the seniors next month. I am both delighted with the students and the seniors that will be participating this year. I think they will both have a lot to offer each other.

January 2012 History Day
We're underway with the 5th graders and I'm really excited since they are such an enthusiastic group. We had our first session and studied the Tuskegee Airmen. Since the neighborhood now known as Cherry Hill was established for African American soldiers returning from World War II, and the new movie Red Tails is a hot item, we studied some of the oral histories of the airmen from the World War II Museum along with archival photographs. The students could not have been more engaged!  They asked tons of great questions and were able to complete all of the exercises planned for the day. I'm going to have watch out, they are a sharp crew!
Here's one of the main videos we focused on for your enjoyment....

2011 Video!
Here's a short documentary-type review of the first year working on the project. This is the 2011 recap out just as we start the 2012 work. Enjoy!
DJ Keshawna
This recording was done by one of the students working on the project when we were practicing using the recorders. I think it's a fun way to introduce the students. I didn't discover this until the following day when I was backing up the recordings. The photos are all pictures that the 5th grade students snapped while we visited with the seniors and learned about Cherry Hill. (Sorry about the skipping in the beginning -that's my fault.)

Donald - We Had to Fight
This is a short clip from a preliminary interview I conducted with a senior that grew up in the neighborhood. He had some wonderful stories to share and I hope scheduling will allow him to meet with the students this year.  (The map and pictures were added for reference. Apologies for the blurred map, when added to the video it seems to compress the image. I welcome any suggestions for an easy fix.)

If you have an interest in participating in the project, would like to use material that you see here, or would like to find out more information, please contact: Shannon Simpson at Towson University via email:

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