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Oral History Project
1967 Plainfield Uprising

The Local History, Genealogy & Special Collections Department is currently interviewing past and current Plainfield residents for our latest oral history project, Plainfield Voices: 1967 Plainfield Uprising. This project focuses on the events that occurred during the summer of 1967 known as the Plainfield riots.

The goal of this project is to create an audio archive of personal interviews with clear transcriptions of residents’ memories of the civic upheaval that took place in Plainfield during July 1967. We hope to collect as much first-hand information as possible about this event, and then to enhance the accessibility of the information found in the interviews to local historians, students, researchers, and the general public  The audio transcriptions will increase the research capacity of the files by allowing for name and subject indexing, word and phrase search capability, as well as provide access to the hearing impaired. 

This program is made possible by a grant from the New Jersey Historical Commission, a division of the Department of State, and administered by the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs. Project funding was received through a $2,000 History Grant from the Union County Office of Cultural & Heritage Affairs. An additional $1,000 will be provided as a financial match from the Friends of Plainfield Public Library (FOPPL). This grant will help fund the transcription of oral history recordings made by residents recalling the events of that summer.  With the fiftieth anniversary of the riots approaching, the transcriptions will provide researchers with searchable access to important primary source material. 

Interviewer Melinda Allen-Grote, is volunteering her services to this project. She is a 35-year resident of the city of Plainfield and has 22 years of professional experience in the non-profit sector, also in Plainfield.  She has extensive experience networking and partnering with community-based organizations on the local, state and federal level.  Much of her career involved working with individuals, listening to their stories and helping them access services and helping them create opportunities for themselves.  Melinda owns and operates a small business, A Remembered Voice, where she records the personal memories of individuals and families for their personal keepsakes.

We are seeking individuals who were residents of Plainfield during the summer of 1967 and are willing to record their personal stories and memories about the riots for this project. Interviews will run from 20 to 40 minutes and can take place in the Library or in the home of the interviewee. The library does not provide financial compensation for the interviews.

For more information about the project or to be registered as a possible interviewee, please contact the Local History Department at 908-757-1111 ext. 136, or email: localhistory[@]


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