Podcasts can be a very useful tool for historians to be able to add dialogue, context, and add conversation to a plethora of topics and discussions. In our Digital Humanities class this week, we observed various podcasts. The first podcast observed, was “Ouija Boards: Tales from the Pacific Northweird.” On this podcast, under the episode of “Pale Pachydrem,” the “Ouija Broads” Liv and Devon, discuss the history of the ” White Elephant,” a store found on Sprague and Division in Spokane, WA. In the pacific Northwest. I was particularly impressed and intrigued that the White Elephant appeared after WWII. John Conley was sent to the Tri Cities and bought truck covers for $6 and sold them for $100! The store was a result of an excess of army. This historical narrative, coupled with inclusions of humor and conversation, add a very casual and laid back approach to presenting Pacific Northwest History.
Next, is the podcast “Love and Labor.” This podcast was particularly interesting, because it was a ” Niche Podcast.” The woman above is Michelle Lamar Suggs, who was a midwife in Philadelphia This podcast really was fascinating to me, because it describes how early 1900’s physicians and hospitals discriminated against and insulted black midwives. I had no idea that black midwives delivered 75% of black babies in 1940. Black midwifes not only delivered babies, but passed down culture and gave spiritual healing. Black midwives and midwives in general connected more with pregnant women than physicians. Physicians labeled midwives as dirty, ignorant and old fashioned and acts like the 1921 Shepherd Townsend act targeted African American midwives in order to replace them and make white physicians supervise them. I was also fascinated that Philadelphia General was the first all inclusive hospital – black women being 94% of childbirth patients. In this podcast, audio of speakers like Suggs, and audio from films like “All my Babies” (which depicted black midwives as needing white supervision) illustrates how important midwives were, the discrimination against black midwives, and the racial atmosphere of the early 1900’s.
Next was the podcast “Death in the West.” Combining interviews, this Big Budget Podcast explores the death of Frank Little, a man who lived in Butte Montana during WWI, was an anti-war and a union activist, and who was also killed. His murder remains unsolved today. My attention was very set on this podcast, because I am a dear fan of murder mysteries. The question of whether the Anaconda Company – who had major influence in newspapers, politicians and businesses was doing unsafe working practices, and likely could have been enraged over Little’s speeches about unions, had killed Little or not was very interesting (my personal opinion being that I really do believe it was). This podcast does quite the amazing job at combining stories, evidence, history and analysis show how a podcast can really make history interesting and spark one’s imagination.
Lastly, was the interview podcast “Ben Franklin’s world,” episode 286 – Elections & voting in the early America: Native Sovereignty. In this podcast, Julie Read discusses how Native Americans – specifically the Cherokee, fair when it comes to U.S. ideas of democracy. Cherokee’ s actually had a Cherokee Constitution that states “we follow the same principles of liberty and democracy as the U.S.” Cherokees even had a 1827 Consitution of voting rights in which only men who are 25 years old could vote. Cherokees actually adapted a lot of principles similar to the U.S. modern democracy. I was really amazing by Read, when she said “Jefferson and the founders believed native people could be incorporated, but the larger structure of states made views less tangible.” In a time where native americans were seen as “savages” (according to views at that time) I found this interesting because George Washington, for example, did not have a high opinion of Native Americans. This podcast adds a great conversation and a non-european narratice history, along with using tools like O.I. Reader for resource guides.
Now, below is my very own podcast. This is an introduction to my San Juan Island Project Topic: The English Barracks Building, located in English Camp!