Sobre a importância dos arquivos da rádio como instrumentos de uma história “imediata”, apanhando o “momento” antes da lenda e da história, este artigo sobre o projecto do Pacifica Radio Archives no Daily News, 5 de Maio de 2008:

Pacifica has a project of historic proportions

Monday, May 5th 2008, 4:00 AM

Pacifica Radio Archives director Brian DeShazor is reminded daily how fast history becomes cluttered with misconceptions.

That’s one reason he works so hard to spread the word about Pacifica‘s unique and irreplaceable collection of some 40,000 broadcasts, dating back more than a half-century: because he sees them as an antidote to distortions, major and minor.

For instance: Most reports on the Birmingham bus boycott of 1955, which helped spark the modern civil-rights movement, say Rosa Parks was sitting in the white section of a Birmingham bus when she refused to yield her seat to a white man.

But a Pacifica interview with Parks, aired as the boycott was unfolding, makes it clear that she was sitting in the black section when a white man demanded her seat because the white section was full.

“That makes her refusal less aggressive,” notes DeShazor. “She was where she was ‘supposed’ to be, and she was still expected to give up her seat.”

Right now, DeShazor is working on a project that has an even more ambitious restorative goal: the year 1968, when Pacifica reporters followed the explosive trails from the Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King assassinations to the Columbia student strike and fissures in the civil-rights movement.

“It was such a crucial year,” says DeShazor. “And today, a lot of it has been misrepresented – or simply forgotten.”

The archive is trying to bring it back, with the accuracy of contemporary source material and in a way that ties the issues of 1968 to issues of today.

“What Pacifica did was so different from the corporate media, like a Time magazine,” says DeShazor. “All the time you hear Pacifica correcting other reporting that was simply wrong, like about the Columbia strike.”

He and the staff went through some 800 tapes from 1968 and selected 105, featuring key figures like King, James Baldwin, John Lennon, Huey Newton, Ayn Rand and Joan Baez. The result, spanning politics and culture, is the 1968 Revolution Rewind collection.

Much of it is available free at www .pacificaradioarchives.com. But it has also been organized into an academic format that Pacifica is offering to teachers.

Some 20 hours of tapes are being used as the basis of a course at Cal State L.A., says DeShazor, and the archive is offering to work with any teacher who would like to use this material.

“Just hearing the actual voices of key people adds a critical dimension to our understanding,” says DeShazor. “Reading the words of a James Baldwin on the printed page is not the same thing as hearing how he rendered them.”

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