Tacoma Voices: Fr. Bill Bichsel and Others from the Community

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New oral histories contributed to the Library

A new batch of oral history projects has been added to the Tacoma Community History Project oral history collection.  Since 1990, students in Professor Michael Honey’s  “History and Memory: Doing Community History” have conducted oral histories and then deposited them in the UW Tacoma Library. Among the projects completed in 2014 and recently made available via UW Tacoma Digital Collections were these notable projects:

Father Bill Bichsel and Disarm Now Plowshares by Lucas Damberg
Father Bill Bischel discusses his life as a Jesuit priest, as well as joining a tradition of radical Catholic non-violent activism. A particular focus is paid to his role in the Disarm Now Plowshares action where he, and four others, broke into the Bangor Trident nuclear submarine base near Bremerton, Washington, to symbolically disarm nuclear weapons stored there.

What We Built Came Out Of That Basement: Brian Skiffington on Hardcore Punk in Tacoma by Zack Pattin
Local musician Brian Skiffington presents a history of the modern hardcore punk movement in Tacoma, Washington. Heavily involved in the punk and hardcore scenes as a drummer and venue-booker, Skiffington discusses notable bands and individuals and touches on the philosophical and political aspects of the punk and hardcore subcultures. He describes his involvement in local venues, including the Lake City Community Center, the Viaduct, and the Frameshop, as well as "punk houses" such as the 1227 House and the Bunny Ranch. The influence of bands such as Greyskull and Left With Nothing are also discussed.

Other oral histories discuss a wide range of topics connected to thistory of South Puget Sound:

The Dr. Maxine Mimms, founder of the Evergreen State College Tacoma branch, shares her efforts to develop educational opportunities for the African-American community in Tacoma. Dorothy Knight recounts her family's journey, comparing and contrasting life in the Northwest and the Deep South, focusing on the interplay between region and racism. James Walton, the first African-American city manager in Washington State, recounts his experiences growing up in rural, segregated Texas and his path to engaging with city government in Tacoma. Robert Elofson, a Native-American fisheries biologist discusses his involvement in the Elwha dam removal and restoration of the Elwha river ecosystem.  Joanne Tryfon discusses her family's history and upbringing in the context of being a Greek-American and the development of the Greek community in Tacoma.

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Written by: 
Jacob Shepard / March 12, 2015
Media contact: 

Justin Wadland
Jwadland@uw.edu