Tag Archives: Boulder County

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.

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.

The Past and Future of “the White Man’s Fly”

12 Jul

What’s a bee space?

Who brought bees to Colorado?

What is propolis?

And why did Native Americans call bees “the white man’s fly”?

You can find out the answers to these questions and much more in our YouTube video “What About Bees?” featuring Tom Theobald.

Tom Theobald was the last county bee inspector in Colorado and has been a beekeeper for more than 30 years. A lively and passionate speaker, Mr. Theobald was filmed in his bee yards in full bee regalia as he told stories of the history of beekeeping, showed and explained the inner workings of bee hives, and reflected on the welfare and future of bees in Boulder County.

This video was compiled from a series of interviews recorded in 2003 for the Boulder County Parks and Open Space Department and the Maria Rogers Oral History Program of the Boulder Public Library. The interviews were conducted by Anne Dyni and filmed by Liz McCutcheon. Video editing and production by Jenna Woods.

Grasshoppers Were Eating the Fenceposts

31 May

There will be a free showing of “The Grapes of Wrath” at the Canyon Theater at the Main Branch of the Boulder Public Library this Sunday (June 2) at 1 pm. To set the stage, watch this interview clip from our “History in a Minute” series, in which Genevieve Crawford describes coming to Colorado in a Model A Roadster during the height of the Dust Bowl.


If you can’t see the video here, you can view it on YouTube

From an interview by Shirley Steele for the Maria Rogers Oral History Program. Part of the Industrial Mine Camp Special Collection.

The happiness comes from being able to get out and see things

25 Apr


A “History in a Minute” segment to inspire you as the snow melts:

Leroy Shlagel’s grandparents came to this country from Germany and Russia around the turn of the twentieth century because the economic and political conditions in Russia were so difficult. His grandfather told him that he had heard that “money grew on trees” in the United States. When his grandfather arrived in Colorado, he found that money did not grow on trees, but that sugar beets grew in the ground in Boulder County, and he became a beet laborer.

Leroy started working in the beet fields at the age of six, and he bought his first land (200 acres on Nelson Road) at the age of 18. After a lifetime of working the land, listen to what he found to be true when he thought of retiring:


(From an interview with Leroy Shlagel by Steven Hall, recorded in 1995, and recently added to our archive.)

It’s the time of year to get out, watch for hawks, and keep our eyes peeled for newly-born fawns. Enjoy!

History as a Living Thing

1 Jun

Maeve Conran’s story about the Maria Rogers Oral HistoryProgram aired on KGNU on May 31, 2012. Conran, Co-Director of News for the Boulder public radio station begins her story like this: 

“The Carnegie Library in Boulder feels more like a museum. Housed in an historic building on Pine Street, there’s that hushed silence that harks back to libraries of days gone by…. The library says the archive preserves the community’s memory for future generations. It’s a fitting location for the home of the oral history program.”

Conran interviewed oral history program director Susan Becker last month. For this radio piece, she intercut Becker’s commentary–about the value of oral history in general and the specifics of how Boulder’s Maria Rogers Oral History Program serves its community–with a wide arrayof interview excerpts. The excerpts range from the topics of Rocky Flats to the Fourmile Canyon Fire, from the 1918 flu epidemic to political upheaval in 1970s Boulder and more.

(Thanks to interviewers Dorothy Ciarlo, Hannah Nordhaus, Marty Dick, Caitlin McKenna, Sally Bell, Wendy Hall, Tim Plass, and Anne Dyni, whose interviews are featured. And to our other interviewers, some of whose work also is mentioned, plus the videographers, transcribers, and archivists who help make all the interviews available.)

Maeve Conran told us she received a lot of positive listener comments about the program. If you missed it, you can hear it here:

Or visit www.kgnu.org to listen to the program, which aired May 31, 2012, on “Morning Magazine” and is available in the archives section of the KGNU web site.

When snow was SNOW

3 Feb

We’ve heard conversation today about whether the snow outside merited the closure of schools or not. Want to know what it was like in the “old days”? “Listen in” on this interview that Anne Dyni recorded with Irene Wright Smith Lybarger in 1990. In this excerpt, they were talking about the blizzard of 1913, when Ms. Lybarger was a school girl.

Anne Dyni: What was it like going to school at the time of that blizzard?

Irene Lybarger: My father made skis for my oldest brother and I. They were made out of 1 x 4s. And then he put straps on them so we could fasten them on our feet. My oldest brother and I pulled my other sister and brother on the skis in back of us to get to school. Of course, we thought it was fun, but the fences were all covered…I think there was about five-foot of snow.

Ms. Lybarger goes on to say:

It took my father and my uncle five days to get to Hygiene, which was three miles away, and they were working with horses…. Whenever the’d get tired, they’d lay down and wallow in the snow. Then they would move a little faster when they got up again. So that’s the way we got to Hygiene to get some groceries. We had plenty of milk and butter because we milked about thirty cows. But it wasn’t easy.

An understatement, if there ever was one! Next, they discuss how one cleared five-feet of snow from roadways in those days. If you’d like to listen to this interview, you can find it in our online archive here. The part about the snow storm starts about nine minutes in.

The photo above is not of Ms. Lybarger’s family’s horse team, but it is a photo from the Carnegie Library for Local History’s virtual photo collection. It shows a horse team in deep snow in Gold Hill in 1913 or 1914. The photo was shared by Patti Anderson on behalf of Race and Verna Anderson.

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