Project Director: Deborah Gurt
The Jewish Mobile Oral History Project (JMOHP) of the McCall Library at the University of South Alabama was developed with funding from the Alabama Humanities Foundation to record interviews capturing the history, communal development, and present-day experience of Mobile's Jewish citizens. The project was conceived at a moment of political turmoil following the tumultuous first years of the Trump presidency. An alarming rise in antisemitic hate-speech and violence had begun across the country. After the 2018 massacre at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, leaders from Mobile’s law enforcement, city government, local churches and mosques gathered for a hastily arranged vigil at Ahavas Chesed Synagogue to express support for Mobile’s Jews. This expression of solidarity was profound, but the atmosphere of fear and uncertainty has persisted.
The JMOHP project was designed with three primary aims: to record and preserve early memories of community elders; to document the present-day experiences of new arrivals and younger people; and to share these stories with the goal of encouraging inter-communal dialog. Public engagement was a primary mission of the project, an objective the Alabama Humanities Foundation specifically cited for support. The collection includes a variety of interlocutors to provide a range of viewpoints and, in this way, expand the Jewish archive.See specialized vocabulary list of non-English terms.