The Houston Indo-American Oral History project is an initiative of the Foundation for India Studies. It is a collaborative project being done in cooperation with the Houston Public Library (HPL) and Houston Community College System (HCCS) and engages members of the Indo-American community living in Houston, Texas to record their life stories and experiences in America as immigrants.
To develop a centralized oral history archive of the experiences of the first generation Indo- Americans settled in Houston through their own narratives and make it available to the researchers, educationist, historiansand help the next generation Indians to trace their roots.
Utilize the latest audio and video modern technologies torecord, transcribe and archive to preservethe rich history of the first generation and present generation Indo-Americans for posterity and their contributions to the city of Houston in various fields. To achieve this goal, live interviews will be conducted by the FIS interviewers.
The purpose of Oral History interviews will be:
- To understand their motives for immigration to America and their choice to settle in Houston.
- To document their educational and skill training before and after their arrival
- To understand the conditions at the time of their arrival and how they surmounted the racial, cultural and language barriers, and color discrimination
- To understand their interaction with their neighborhoods, the formation of social organizations and their involvement with religion including construction of temples, churches and mosques
- To gain an understanding of the challenges they faced and their initial experiences as newcomers with regard to their acceptance by the local communities
- Their gradual integration into the main stream communities while preserving their separate cultural identity
- To learn how Indian immigrants attempted to influence public policy for the betterment of Indo-US relations
- To record the concerns and anxieties of first generation immigrants about the future of their children and grand children growing up in American culture and the erosion of Indian cultural and religious values.
- To record their concerns regarding the gradual erosion of Indian identity due to the increasing number of interracial marriages
- Their involvement into the main stream political, social and economic environment in Houston
- To detail the history of immigrant businesses in the Hillcroft’s India sector of the Mahatma Gandhi District in Houston
- To record their experiences at their work places and businesses
Project execution plan
First one hundred (100) interviews to be done at the rate of two (2) per month, will take 50 months, (i.e.) 4 years and 2 months.
Who will be interviewed?
• People who are aged 65 and above. Seniors will be on a priority list.
• Interviewees must have lived in Houston,Texas for at least 20 years, however, exceptions considered on a case by case basis.
Categories of people
• Entrepreneurs /Industrialists / Business people
• Art and culture
• Community activists / Leaders / Volunteers
• Professionals like Doctors, Engineers, Scientists
• Public figures and politicians
• Media professionals like journalists, radio and TV hosts etc.
• Religious leaders
Total estimated cost of the project is $250,000/-.
Time line for the project
Project inauguration: August 19, 2011.
Completion of the first phase of the project: December 2015
Watch the interviews
You may click on any of the following Links, and watch the interviews done earlier and were already uploaded on to HPL Servers:
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Houston Public Library (HPL) and Houston Community College System (HCCS)
Krishna Vavilala, 713-795-5169
Fifth Anniversary Celebrations, Houston