Skip over navigation

About The Archive

Since 2008, Brown University students have worked to preserve and present the cultural heritage of Providence’s Fox Point neighborhood through oral history interviews and public programs. Fox Point borders the Brown University campus, and currently serves as a home to students and staff from the nearby universities, numerous restaurants and upscale shops, and India Point Park, now a destination for boaters, soccer players, walkers, and joggers. Before the 1960s, however, Fox Point’s residents – primarily first and second-generation immigrant families from Portugal, Cape Verde, and Ireland – labored on the waterfront, worked in local factories, worshipped at the neighborhood’s churches, and managed the corner markets and bars that dotted the area. Some long-time residents remain but many of Fox Point’s homes have been restored and converted into single-family residences or rental properties.

The lives of Fox Point residents and their neighborhood have been shaped by economic changes, city planners, and other forces. The Fox Point Oral History project aims to capture these changes through recorded life history interviews with current and former residents, business owners, and others with a stake in the area, preserving memories of community life over the past 70 years. Most of the interviews have been conducted by Brown University students enrolled in classes offered by Dr. Anne Valk, Associate Director of the John Nicholas Brown Center for Public Humanities and Cultural Heritage.

This site, managed by Brown University’s Center for Digital Scholarship, allows visitors to hear audio interviews, read transcripts of these interviews, and learn about participants’ backgrounds and connection to the Fox Point neighborhood. The site also features student projects resulting from use of the Fox Point Oral History Project archive and background research conducted by students in Dr. Valk’s oral history classes.

Comments or questions can be directed to Dr. Anne Valk, anne_valk@brown.edu.


Interviews (Access via Browse → Genre → Oral Histories, or via Browse → Genre → Transcripts)

Since 2008, Brown University students have conducted interviews with former and current residents of Fox Point, business owners and individuals connected to the neighborhood’s churches, schools, clubs, and other public spaces. These interviews vary in length from 30 minutes to 2 hours and most describe the narrator’s life history and memories of Fox Point.

Where available, the site includes a biography, transcript, and audio file for each project participant. The narrators whose interviews are posted here have agreed to make them available for scholarly and educational uses..


Student Projects (Access via Browse → Genre → Essays)

Students have used the Fox Point archive as the inspiration for a range of projects including multimedia pieces, audio tours, cartoons, and research papers. Projects cover a number of topics from discussions of race and urban planning to information about local neighborhood institutions past and present. Materials collected here demonstrate students’ background research for class assignments and presentations using the Fox Point archive.