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Senator Fong and my start in oral history.

I first got involved with oral history in 1975, when I had a sabbatical for the University of Hawaii Library. Part of my project was to learn more about the emerging practice of oral history. Learning that Columbia University (which started the program) was not teaching oral history that summer, I flew to Burlington, Vermont, where Charles Morrissey and Amelia (Chita) Fry were teaching at the University of Vermont. They were both so inspirational that I decided to use oral history as a research tool when I entered the Ph.D. program in American Studies at the University of Hawaii. My topic was the early life and times of Hiram L. Fong, who has entered the historical record as the first U.S. senator of Asian-American heritage, serving from 1955 to 1977. Since then I've been honored with grants to do other oral histories. In addition to preparing a full-length biography of Senator Fong, I am readying other manuscripts to be published. I've spoken at various venues and have published articles and papers about oral history. Former Members of Congress commissioned me to submit interviews with Senator Fong--the interviews are available in Washington, D.C., as well as at the Library of Congress and here in Hawaii.

My membership in the Oral History Association has also brought me election to the Council of the OHA, where I became the first Asian American and only Chinese American to be seated on the Council. I've attended all but two OHA annual meetings since I joined and even flew to Los Angeles to attend a council meeting after breaking my foot and wearing a cast; "hobbling along," I made it! I've headed the Membership Committee while on Council and am delighted to have become a Life Member several years ago.

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Title Annotation:practice of oral history; Hiram L. Fong
Author:Chou, Michaelyn P.
Publication:The Oral History Review
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1U9HI
Date:Jun 22, 2002
Words:297
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