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Tacoma Community History Projects: 1995

A guide to oral history projects compiled by students in Professor Mike Honey's "Doing Community History" course. Projects date from 1991.

Project Descriptions

Longshore Workers in Tacoma - Call # 1995#01

This project looks at the individual life experiences of a number of longshore workers in Tacoma. It includes short essays covering topics pertinent to the interviews. These topics include: the changing nature of work on the waterfront; mechanization; race relations and the role of women in the industry and within the union; efforts to maintain the economic gains made over generations by longshore workers and their unions. Wardell Canada, Jr., Isaac Morrow, Douglas Wood, and Rodney Rhymes recall their struggles as African-Americans for access to employment, for respect, and for fair treatment on the job, with white workers, and in society. Marlene Anderson talks about the problems of being a woman in a traditionally male job. Phil Rees discusses the effects of mechanization on longshore work and the increasing difficulty for all workers of gaining access jobs in a shrinking labor market. -Rebecca M. Crist, Dave Larson, Duncan Plymate, William Benjamin


Senator Rosa D. Franklin: Small-Town Person, Big-City Activist - Call # 1995#02

Washington State Senator Rosa D. Franklin was raised in a rural area of South Carolina. She came to Washington during the 1960s when her husband, James, received a local military assignment. The Franklin family made Tacoma their permanent home in the late 1960s. Rosa worked as a Registered Nurse in a variety of health care settings while raising two children and continuing her education. Her involvement in community affairs brought the realization that education, awareness, and involvement were key to building a viable community. After twenty-two years of continuous community service Rosa was elected to the State House of Representatives in 1992. She went on to be elected State Senator of the 29th Legislative District. She continues to advocate for the basic needs of the community. She has sponsored legislation pertinent to health care, housing, social services, and the needs of children. This project presents two transcribed interviews detailing Rosa Franklin's life as a nurse and a legislator. It includes her personal philosophy of the nursing profession and health care. The most recent interview was pursued with the intention of building on the initial interview. Combined, they create a profile which attempts to document many of the activities and thoughts of this remarkable community activist. -Elizabeth Walter