The Women Transcending Oral History Research Project (OHRP) aims to document and raise up the leadership and organizing efforts of incarcerated, formerly incarcerated, and directly impacted women in the context of mass incarceration.
Led by a collective comprised of formerly incarcerated women, university faculty, and students, the project will be a model that can be replicated to show the strength of women’s leadership in the struggle to end mass incarceration.
This first history OHRP is documenting is the successful organizing by women incarcerated in Bedford Hills Correctional Facility to bring back college to prison following the elimination of the federal and state grants in the 1990s. Oral history interviews and a material archive or documents, photos, and other related materials will highlight themes of leadership, community and collaboration -- inside, inside and outside, from facility to facility, and even once at home, as well as the success and impact of college program.
The very intentional decisions around collecting, preserving, making available, and utilizing these archival materials and oral histories are being documented with the idea of producing a written / multimedia process piece to include in a tool-kit for others seeking to document similar histories.