Oral History Exhibition

Posted on Jun 9, 2024 in Photography, Spoken Word

May 4-June 8, 2024

Reception: Saturday, May 4 (6-8 PM)

The Bath House Cultural Center presents “Becoming Texans, Becoming Americans,” an interactive exhibition and oral history project spotlighting the journey of Vietnamese refugees who resettled in North Texas post the fall of Saigon in April 1975. Captured through the lens of Byrd Williams IV and the interviews conducted by Dr. Betsy Brody, this exhibition preserves the essence of the Vietnamese community’s narrative. Through poignant photographs featuring individuals alongside significant personal objects, and the recorded testimonies, the exhibition serves as a vital testament to the resilience and stories of this remarkable community.

Since the end of the Vietnam War, North Texas has become a significant hub for Vietnamese refugees, with the community steadily growing since the fall of Saigon in April 1975. Initially supported by churches and organizations, subsequent waves of refugees found homes in North Texas, drawn by various factors such as climate, family connections, and employment opportunities. Today, North Texas boasts the fourth largest Vietnamese population in the U.S., with a substantial portion residing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. The “Becoming Texans, Becoming Americans” Oral History project chronicles the experiences of these refugees, shedding light on their integration into local communities, schools, workplaces, and social structures.

The project’s interviews delve into the challenges faced by Vietnamese refugees as they adapted to life in North Texas, exploring issues in employment, education, and housing. Additionally, the interviews uncover insights into the refugees’ perspectives on identity, encompassing their notions of Americanism, Vietnamese heritage, and the intersection between their past as refugees and their present as Americans. Themes of freedom, opportunity, and the influence of their Vietnamese background on their American identities emerge, revealing the complex interplay between their experiences in Vietnam and their lives in America.

For more information about the exhibition, visit https://www.becomingtexansbecomingamericans.org