Joyce Ladner Used Her Stories to Raise Awareness of the Civil Rights Movement. Now, She’s Telling Them in a New Way

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tags: civil rights, African American history

When The March, TIME’s virtual reality re-creation of the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, opens to the public on Friday at Chicago’s DuSable Museum of African American History, visitors will be able to experience being part of the crowd on the day in 1963 when Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.

For Joyce Ladner, summoning that feeling requires no VR headset.

Ladner was a teenage college student when, on Aug. 28, 1963, she ended up right behind King during that famous speech. And her memories of that day — as well as what came before and after — will be part of the exhibit at the DuSable, too. Near the virtual reality experience, visitors will be able to ask questions of a voice-activated, pre-recorded video interview with Ladner, and receive answers in real time, thanks to artificial intelligence: it’s like talking to Siri or other voice-activated devices, except the answers come from a real person, speaking about real history. The video shoot was produced by StoryFile, a multimedia company best known for using an earlier version of this technology to preserve the testimony of Holocaust survivors.

Ladner’s interview, which covers 343 questions that were asked over the course of three days, is the first StoryFile has produced with a civil rights activist.

“Looking back is a lot easier than it was [then] for me to look forward,” Ladner, now 76, tells TIME.


Read entire article at TIME

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