About the Project
Taxi cabs undoubtedly constitute one of the most enduring symbols of New York City and we would argue that, like the image of the yellow cab, the city’s cab drivers also represent a unique and valuable facet of the New York City experience. The New York City Taxi Driver Oral History Project is designed as a collection of oral history interviews with New York City taxi drivers. We did not set out with a thesis question to answer or a hypothesis to prove; we envision the Project as a documentation of a particular moment in the history of the city's taxi industry and a venue for drivers' opinions, perspectives, and voices to reach a public audience. Our hope is that the website will foster dynamic and accessible public engagement with our oral history collection. As such, our project will constitute a bridge between oral history, digital history, and grassroots documentation of New York City.
Additionally, we have partnered with the Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive at New York University and will be donating our collection of interviews to the Archive in May, 2011.
Through full length oral history interviews with a diverse body of taxi drivers, we hope to capture some of the ways in which race, nationality, gender, class, and religion shape the cab driver’s experience. We anticipate that our oral histories may also reflect such pressing concerns as immigration processes, labor issues, and the intricacies of the taxi industry. Thus, we are at once interested in the individual life histories of our subjects as well as in the unique perspectives that cab drivers may shed on the landscape, character and people of New York City.
We are no longer actively collecting oral histories for this project, but we continue to be interested in the power of oral history, NYC's taxi industry, and especially NYC's taxi drivers.
ABOUT THE PROJECT COORDINATORS
Samantha Gibson holds a BA in History from American University in Washington, DC and an MA in Public History from New York University. She began work on the New York City Taxi Driver Oral History Project to fulfill her degree requirements in the Fall of 2010. Samantha was a researcher and educator at Brooklyn Historical Society between 2010 and 2012 and she currently works in education and exhibit development at the Museum of African American History in Boston, MA.
Margaret Fraser has a BA in History from Bryn Mawr College and is currently in her last semester in the Archives and Public History MA program at New York University. Her interest in oral histories stems from her experience working in archives cataloging oral histories of men and women who worked at the Brooklyn Navy Yard during WWII at the Brooklyn Historical Society. She hopes to continue to work with oral histories, promoting their access and use in archives, libraries, museums and beyond.