18 Jul Five Weeks In!
It is hard to believe that I have already been at Gateway National Recreation Area for five weeks! It still feels like I just arrived here in some ways. But I have settled into my work and Gateway. Everyday, I take a walk to the overlook with the other interns where we get an amazing view of New York City. Now that I am halfway through my time here, I am starting to pull my research together into a cohesive report. My report is about the experiences of minorities within the forts that Gateway encompasses, particularly during World War II and the implementation of Executive Order 9981- the order that called for integration of the military. It has been an amazing journey so far finding these men and women’s stories. In order to learn about the forts, oral histories have been indispensable. I have been able to listen to and read many interviews with those who worked at the forts during the war. When working with these types of sources, one must be careful. Because these are individual experiences, they can be very compelling but also one-sided. They cannot be turned into generalizations about the whole group and time; they are still just pieces of it. Overall, we should remember that history is a delicate thing. It is written by people and about people and thus will involve some amount of bias. My hope is that in my work I will be able to be as objective as possible and produce a report that people can relate to and learn from. The Latino Heritage Internship Program has given me the opportunity to work with the materials I love and create something new. Making sure minority voices and experiences are heard is incredibly important to me and having the chance to be a part of that has made this time invaluable.