In today's blog post, we introduce W&M Libraries' new oral historian!
Name: Andre Taylor
Title: Oral Historian
What does your job entail? I am responsible for capturing the stories of people from the campus and surrounding community and placing those stories into historical context.
What interests you most about this job? I love hearing the life stories from individuals. You learn so much about your community when you hear from the lived experiences of others.
What do you hope to accomplish in your first year? I hope to gather a plethora of stories from individuals, primarily focused on COVID-19 social unrest and everything 2020 has brought to the surface in the United States. I find the Williamsburg and William & Mary communities to be a bank of opinions I’d love to tap.
Tell us a little about your work background: I spent 15 years as a print journalist, most recently at the Greensboro (North Carolina) News & Record. Even as a journalist, conducted side oral history projects that focused on the return home from World War II by the Tuskegee Airmen. While completing my masters at North Carolina State University, I focused my research on the impacts of climate change and sea level rise on the cultural heritage of the Gullah Geechee community in St. Helena Island, South Carolina. Collecting oral histories from the community was a great part of my research.
What attracted you to W&M? The prestige of the school and the quaintness of the surrounding community were definite selling points for me. I have always enjoyed my visits to Williamsburg and I have enjoyed attending football games at William & Mary.
What do you like to do in your free time? I love cooking with and for my family and being in the Hampton Roads area offers fresh produce and seafood to prepare tasty dishes. I love spending time with my wife and daughters and we hope to enjoy many family fishing trips.