Whose stories get told, and how are they framed? Who has access to and control over evidence about the past? Whose communities are lifted up and romanticized, and whose are scapegoated and misrepresented? These are questions about power, the ways it warps the historical record, and how it shapes the narratives we learn about who we are and where we come from.
At ROP, we have always believed in rural people building power together to tell their own stories, which is why we are launching a long-term archival program to ensure rural Oregon’s organizing stories remain accessible for decades to come. We know that the stories our collection holds—stories of tactical innovations, prescient strategies, and inspiring victories—are absolutely invaluable to current organizers looking to learn about the history of their area and what it will take to change it. We believe learning about the mistakes of past movements makes us more accountable to those we seek to stand in solidarity with. And we have seen how lifting up narratives about rural progressive power-building is crucial to counteracting the Right’s attempt to divide urban from rural in service of maintaining the status quo.
We would love to connect with you! Check out the options below to see how you can plug into ROP’s archival work:
- Sign up to host our upcoming traveling exhibit, “Bridging Divides, Defending Dignity: 30 Years of the Rural Organizing Project” in your community!
- Schedule a research visit to our Community Building Center in Cottage Grove to learn more about the history of your human dignity group, county, or issue focus! We recently hosted researchers for the It Did Happen Here podcast and would love to hear about your project! For more information on our collection, check out our guide to ROP’s records, available as a PDF document here!
- Volunteer to support archival processing and description (Cottage Grove only) or to help us transcribe oral history interviews (remote opportunities available)!
- Listen to this episode of our Rural Roots Rising podcast, featuring our archivist Kate and media specialist Meredith discussing why movement archives matter!
- Looking for online access? Please check back with us in the fall of 2022, when we hope to roll out several digital archives projects including a digital version of our anniversary exhibit and digital access to our oral history interviews!
If you are interested in any of the options listed above or are seeking other information about ROP’s archives program, please contact our archivist Kate by email at email@example.com or by phone at 541-649-1169.