Peyton Morgan ’14 snaps a photo of a historical marker on Auburn Avenue in Atlanta. (Photo: Cole Morgan)
“See how happy I am?” Peyton Morgan ’14 said, showing off the picture on his driver’s license. He acquired the license in anticipation of a seven-week summer road trip, during which his only guides were a GPS and The Green Book. The book, published by postal-service worker Victor Green between 1936 and 1964, once served as a guide to hotels, restaurants, and businesses that would serve African-American travelers.
Backed by a Martin A. Dale ’53 Summer Award, Morgan followed an itinerary through 15 cities across America as he documented the present state of the locations listed in the book. Undertaking the trip on a newly minted license was daunting (“I’m surprised they let me go!” the Chicago resident said), but his determination drove him — literally — to find meaning in a largely forgotten text.
Searching for the listed establishments, Morgan found little: Only two people he met had heard of The Green Book, and while some buildings still stood, few remained as they had been during the segregation era. Sometimes, all physical evidence had disappeared completely. “The visit of that day would consist of going to the side of the highway, and realizing that the neighborhood is no longer there,” he said.
Vivienne Chen ’14 (Photo: Courtesy Vivienne Chen)
For the fourth post in our summer series about Dale Award recipients, we asked PAW contributor Vivienne Chen ’14 to describe her own project, a filmmaking venture that took her to Thailand in June and July. The Martin A. Dale ’53 Summer Awards provide financial support for rising juniors pursuing independent creative projects.
Nothing seems more out of place in Bangkok than a 20-year-old Chinese American female toting a Canon 60D video camera and looking to make an artistic documentary about Thailand’s transgender individuals.
But two months later — with nearly 80 gigabytes of film footage, dozens of bilingual interviews, and a preview trailer on YouTube — I’m attempting to do precisely that.
I first became aware of the Thai community of “ladyboys,” who are born male but look like and live as females, when I visited Thailand last summer on vacation. I work closely with the LGBT community in America, including at Princeton’s LGBT Center, but until Thailand, I had never seen such open and prominent instances of Asian gender fluidity before, especially not in my native China. I wanted to explore whether our journeys through understanding our bodies and our place in the world were similar, and whether Thailand was really the safe haven for sexual diversity that it appeared to be.
Greta Shum ’14 takes notes at the Sacher café. (Photo: Courtesy Greta Shum)
While many Princeton students associate coffee with Dean’s Date and Friday-morning precepts, Greta Shum’ 14 is spending her summer studying the beverage across the Atlantic – not as an antidote to sleep deprivation, but as a rich tradition steeped in artistry and rituals.
Armed with a Martin A. Dale ’53 Summer Award and the German language proficiency she picked up in her first two years at Princeton, Shum left for Vienna June 7 to observe and write about the historic coffee house culture of Vienna. She has visited over 30 coffee houses so far, and hopes to profile each one.
“I brought three notebooks to Vienna and filled all of them in the first month,” she said, noting that she has talked to waiters, tourists, and other coffee lovers to get a stronger feel for the coffee-house culture. Coffee houses became something of a “salon culture” in the area after being brought by foreigners from Turkey and Italy, according to Shum. In Vienna, sitting down with a newspaper and a cup of coffee in a coffee house is standard practice for many. The establishments typically are very elegant, with newspapers available in holders and well-dressed waiters. “People here have developed a very interesting sort of ‘snobbery’ about it the way they have about wine,” said Shum, who is herself slowly learning the difference between “good” and “bad” coffee with the aid of a course at a barista school.
Ari Satok ’14 poses in front of the Tower Bridge and its Olympic rings. (Photo: Courtesy Ari Satok)
Of the thousands of journalists covering the London Olympics, freelance blogger Ari Satok ’14 may have one of the most enviable assignments. Satok, a recipient of the Martin A. Dale ’53 Summer Award, goes where he wants to go, interviews anyone who is willing talk, and writes about the things that grab his interest on a website devoted to his project, arisolympicadventures.com
There are a few drawbacks, of course. As a non-credentialed reporter, Satok will have limited opportunities to speak with the Olympics’ biggest stars – though he has been in touch with some of Princeton’s Olympians and other athletes from his native Canada. He also nabbed a brief interview with Oscar Pistorius
, the double-amputee sprinter who will represent South Africa in the Olympic track and field competition.
Being outside the press room “just means that I’m going to have to be more creative,” Satok said, covering stories and angles that other media outlets might overlook.
In his first two weeks in London, Satok has been writing stories, shooting photos and video, and recording brief radio-style news capsules about the buildup to the games. He’s spent part of his time in parks and public spaces, talking with the city’s residents – some who are excited and others who are dreading the impending congestion.
Jackson Dobies ’13′s raft, docked on the Mississippi River in Prescott, Wis. (Photo: Courtesy Jackson Dobies)
Having grown up reading stories like Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Jackson Dobies ’14 always had wanted to raft on the Mississippi River with his brother, Justin. In March 2012, he received a Martin A. Dale ’53 Summer Award that would finally let him do it.
“To find out I was getting $4,000 to do something completely outrageous was so cool, and completely ridiculous,” he said.
Dobies’ summer adventure, which he describes as “a kind of Huckleberry Finn old American adventure where we get away from technology and live on the river, cook our own meals and totally support ourselves,” began June 22. Dobies and his brother spent three weeks before the start of the trip constructing a 24-by-8-foot raft from a pontoon boat built in the 1970s (purchased for $4,000). The raft is made up of “two huge 24-foot tubes with a flat deck on top,” according to Dobies.