Much of the contemporary history of Davis Bottom is found in the “living memories of residents. From August 2011 to February 2012, the production team conducted 14 oral history interviews with residents, former residents and community leaders as part of the Davis Bottom History Preservation Project. “I think oral history has a huge role in our consideration of the past,” says Dr. Kim McBride, Co-Director, Kentucky Archaeological Survey. “At a very general level, it provides a different source of data; often filling in gaps that we cannot reach using the standard documentary, history records such as tax records and deeds, and written histories, even diaries and letters. Related, but slightly different, is the fact that oral history also allows us to greatly increase the range of perspectives that can be brought into the conversation on the past.”
The oral history interviews have been incorporated into the one-hour public television documentary, “Davis Bottom: Rare History, Valuable Lives” (KET). This one-hour documentary features comments from residents about growing up in Davis Bottom, the tight-knit nature of the neighborhood and the vital role of the community’s park. The original, unedited interviews were also compiled into the DVD “Davis Bottom: Living Memories” (3:39 hrs.), that has been provided to participants, local institutions and area archives. The oral history interviews are restricted for research and educational use only. Here are sample clips from each interview.