Archive by Author

Building understanding one book at a time

24 Oct

Back in 2009, oral historian Anne Marie Pois interviewed three of the founders of Reading to End Racism (RER), a non-profit group in Boulder County that sends trained readers into the schools to read specially chosen books to students that stimulate conversations about discrimination and overcoming it. 

This week we release “Reading to End Racism: Building understanding one book at a time,” an “MROHP Short” produced by Jenna Woods, that distills that interview into an engaging and inspiring introduction to the program.

This video features founders Ghada Elturk, Jean Gore, and Daniel Escalante talking about efforts to make Boulder “a racism-free zone,” experiences in their own lives that sensitized them to issues of racism, what it means to become an ally of those who experience discrimination, and how RER creates change through its effect on both readers and students.

As Daniel Escalante says,

It’s through stories that we can begin to learn about each other, understand each other, begin to have compassion for each other. It’s hard to discriminate against somebody that you care about.

Watch “Reading to End Racism: Building understanding one book at a time” here or on YouTube.

No place to hide and no days off

15 Aug


Pro Challenge photo

Two years ago, Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, talked with Richard Kiefer in an interview that was broadcast on radio station KGNU’s program “A Public Affair.” The interview was donated to our oral history program for archiving. With this year’s Pro Cycling Challenge just around the corner–it runs from August 18-24 this year–we thought the public might enjoy learning more about this 7-day, grueling stage race that attracts top professional cyclists from all over the world. As Shawn Hunter says in the interview, this race is described as one in which “there is no place to hide and no days off.”

You can listen to the complete interview here in which Shawn Hunter talks about the origin of the event, the national and international competitors, the route, the funding and organization, the appeal of cycling in general, and Colorado’s unique role in national and international cycling because of the physical challenges inherent in the race.

The last stage of this year’s race will come through Boulder on August 24. See the complete schedule here.


A Commitment to Social Justice

31 Jul


In this new entry to our MROHP Shorts video playlist on YouTube, Josie Heath–former Boulder County Commissioner and current President of the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County–talks about the roots of her commitment to social justice, a commitment that became a life-long passion.

Hear stories about her experience of working in the fields alongside Latino farm workers in the 1940s at the age of ten–and of later being able to sign eight million dollars worth of checks as a county commissioner but not being able to open a bank account without her husband’s signature in the 1980s–among other stories illustrative of how she came to be committed to social welfare and women’s rights.

This interview was recorded for the Boulder County Latino History Project, undertaken in collaboration with our oral history program. The interviewer is Linda Arroyo-Holstrom, and the videographer is Irle Hernandez.The whole interview can be found here.

See also the MROHP Special Collection of interviews with members of the Boulder County Latino community here, which was funded in part by the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County.

Deep Questions

10 Jul


In honor of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, who passed away a week ago on July 3, we are making available, for the first time online, the video version of an interview with him that was conducted for our program in 2007 by Shirley Steele (filmed by Liz McCutcheon).

Reb Zalman, as he was widely known, was (as was said in his obituary) “a spiritual revolutionary who infused religion and interfaith relations with a new vitality and contemplative depth.”

In this interview he talks about his family background, his religious journey, his feeling of connection to all who engage in what he calls the “dialogue of devoutness,” his pursuit of the deep questions of life and its meaning, and his work with the Spiritual Eldering Institute that he founded.

Please feel free to leave us a comment if you have any stories to relate about encounters you had with Reb Zalman.




Rocky Flats Then and Now–and You’re Invited

5 Jun

RF haz suit photo


This Friday through Sunday, the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities is sponsoring a three-day event commemorating the 25th anniversary of the dramatic FBI raid of the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant in 1989. From their description of the event:

On June 6, 7, and 8, 2014 the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities will host a multifaceted art and humanities event commemorating the 25 th Anniversary of the raid.  It will feature an art and history exhibit (including photographs and artifacts from the Rocky Flats plant) and panel discussions focusing on the raid and its consequences, including a grand jury investigation and subsequent disputed settlement of charges involving environmental crimes. Speakers will include former Colorado Governor Roy Romer, former U.S. Representative David Skaggs, former FBI agent Jon Lipsky, and several plant workers, neighbors, activists, and experts.

On Saturday, there will be a panel about secrecy at Rocky Flats that will be moderated by Maria Rogers Oral History Program oral historian Dorothy Ciarlo. Ciarlo conducted many of the interviews in our extensive collection about the nuclear weapons plant and the controversies that dogged its history.

The Arvada Center exhibit that accompanies this event uses excerpts from our Rocky Flats interviews to bring that history to life.

The events at the Arvada Center this weekend are free and open to the public. You can find a schedule of events here.

And we have a new flyer to let people know about our oral history program’s online Rocky Flats collection, which you can see here.

And finally, we invite you to stop by the Carnegie Branch Library for Local History (1125 Pine St. in Boulder) during the month of June to see an exhibit of photos about Rocky Flats drawn from the Daily Camera collection. Thanks to Hope Arculin for curating this exhibit.

Growing up in a mining camp

20 May

Denzil Acklin was born in 1929 and grew up in the Industrial Mine coal mining camp near Superior, Colorado, during The Depression. Yesterday (May 19, 2014) he was awarded a Square Nail Award by the Boulder County Heritage Roundtable for his contributions to historic preservation in Boulder County.  Mr. Acklin was interviewed by Shirley Steele in 2002 for the Maria Rogers Oral History Program. Jenna Woods has produced a “History in a Minute” short video of Mr. Acklin talking about living in the Industrial Mine Camp. The video includes a hand-drawn map of the mine camp housing and photos of the family, the mine camp, and the run-down housing that his mother turned into the nicest house in the camp.

Got a minute? You can watch this short video here or directly on YouTube:


The complete interview is posted on our online oral history archive at


Creating Poetry Everywhere

18 Apr

As we head into the last third of National Poetry Month, we bring you a delightful 8-minute visit with poet Jack Collom, renowned for teaching thousands of Boulder County schoolchildren to love and write poetry and also for his stint as a “poetry busker,” during which he wrote poetry on demand for passersby on Boulder’s Pearl Street Mall.

Many thanks to Jenna Woods for creating this “MROHP Short” and to Joyce Gordon who recorded the original nearly two-hours-long interview from which this short video was distilled. You can listen to the original interview on our online archive at The short version, “Creating Poetry Everywhere,” is below:

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