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Lee Hedgmon Oral History Interview, June 9, 2016

Oregon State University
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00:00:22 - Growing up and Education in Portland, Oregon

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Partial Transcript: So you were born in Portland?

Segment Synopsis: Hedgmon recounts her upbringing in Portland, Oregon with focuses on school, activism and culture. She briefly describes some of her work as a youth activist in junior high, mentioning her involvement with the youth bus pass movement. She expresses her interest in uniforms from her private catholic schooling, as well as the transition into studying at Lincoln High School, observations of a white majority in school and personal interests in reading and language. Hedgmon illustrates the available activities in downtown Portland in the 1980s, the presence of gentrification in various parts of the city and how her observations influenced her passion for social justice.

Keywords: Portland, Oregon; magnet schools; racial uniformity; youth activism; youth bus tickets

Subjects: Catholic schools; Emotional maturity; Family; Gentrification; International baccalaureate; Lincoln High School (Portland, Or.); Uniforms; Youth

00:16:28 - Experiences with Youth Activism

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Partial Transcript: So, did you feel like that was an impetus for your own involvement?

Segment Synopsis: Hedgmon explains how she got involved with youth activism through involvement with the Portland Youth Commission rather than her mother’s own work. She describes the philosophical focuses of the program, which later influenced her graduate research in intersectionality of discrimination and justice. Hedgmon goes on to detail the different projects she did through the Portland Youth Commission, which were directed at kids’ interests, such as the youth bus pass campaign. She also reflects on how adults reacted to her and her group, particularly in their condescension. Finally, Hedgmon discusses why she decided not to pursue a career in activism in her adulthood, and talks about that transition with work, college classes and living on her own.

Keywords: Friendship; Portland Youth Commission; Thomas Lauderdale; activism; disenfranchisement; intersectionality

Subjects: Public transportation; Sexual minority youth--Services for--United States; Social justice; Urban League of Portland (Portland, Or.)

00:26:36 - Involvement in the Portland Queer Community

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Partial Transcript: Did you keep up, were you still involved, like, community, activism-wise?

Segment Synopsis: Hedgmon reflects on her involvement with activism and social activity in the Portland queer community during college, including her membership in the Lesbian avengers and interest in the Double Tree bookstore. She highlights the nightlife available to queer youth during that time, such as The City underage gay nightclub. She says that her social spheres within the queer community were less tied to the university, and they were more about support. Hedgmon talks about other experiences with gay bars, like her participation in a western line dance class while still underage, and how local establishments have changed since her youth. Overall, she felt that Portland was a safe space for the queer community and provided a lot of activity. Her only regret from growing up was not saving more photographs.

Keywords: Country line dance; Lavender Network; Lesbian avengers; Queer magazines; Safe community; The City nightclub

Subjects: Gay bars; Independence; Nightclubs; Queer community; Sexual minority youth--Services for--United States

00:33:38 - Working Experience with Job Corps

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Partial Transcript: I eventually went to JobCorp-

Segment Synopsis: Hedgmon transitions from describing culture in Portland to introducing her professional involvement with JobCorp and how that lead to a variety of new skills and interests. She states that she decided to sign up because of the opportunity for non-traditional work, which interested her more than a clerical job. Hedgmon discusses her living situations and projects while in JobCorp, her responsibilities as an individual with no criminal record, and the unique skills she gained from the experience.

Keywords: Home brewing; Non-traditional skills; Non-traditional work; Tongue Point, Astoria

Subjects: Astoria Region (Or.)--History; Building management; Job Corps (U.S.); Juvenile deliquents

00:40:30 - Undergraduate Study at Portland State University

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Partial Transcript: So, at what point did you decide to go to Portland State?

Segment Synopsis: Hedgmon talks about her work experiences in the hospitality industry after leaving JobCorps, including working during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. She then describes her choice to study business at Portland State University in order to have skills for working in hospitality, and how she ultimately shifted toward women’s and black studies instead. She also details how she was able to go to school while also working full-time, and how she eventually balance working and going to school full-time.

Keywords: Double Tree; Hospitality and business; Lloyd center mall; Undergraduate Study; Working and Studying; Working during crisis

Subjects: 9/11 Terrorist Attacks, 2001; Black studies; Business; Engineering; Hospitality industry; Portland State University; Women's studies

00:43:18 - Community Involvement during College / Lesbian Avengers

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Partial Transcript: So as you were, in full-time work or almost- I guess you were full-time.

Segment Synopsis: Hedgmon recounts the different ways she stayed involved in her community while working and going to college, including volunteering for In Other Words feminist bookstore and continuing as an activist for the Lesbian Avengers. She goes on to describe the types of activities the Lesbian Avengers did for social justice, which were mostly to get visibility and disrupt the status quo. One example Hedgmon gave was the avenger involvement in the annual Dyke March, and she also brings up the Lesbian Avenger national conference that was held in Portland. She comments on the “Martin Luther King/ Malcom X” philosophical dichotomy between the Lesbian Avengers and other groups in the Portland queer community, in regards to how they approached getting the public’s attention for issues.

Keywords: Dyke March; Gay protests; In Other Words bookstore; Philosophical dichotomy; Queer visibility

Subjects: Beer; Fire eating; Lesbian Avengers (Organization); People of color; Pride parades, Gay; Social interaction

00:47:53 - Pursuing Academia at the University of Minnesota / Midwestern Beer Culture

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Partial Transcript: So, then you started at Portland State. Are you taking- do you ever go full time back to school?

Segment Synopsis: Hedgmon continues to speak about her experience at Portland State University within the context of her decision to pursue grad school and a career in academia. She notes her immediate transition into a graduate summer program, which caused her to miss her graduation from PSU. Hedgmon also explains why she ended up at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis as opposed to the other programs she applied to. She then describes her transition to living in the Midwest, including adapting to living in a tornado zone and having help to set up her gas utilities correctly. It was at this time that she realized the quality of the craft beer industry in Portland due to a lack of good products in the Midwest. Hedgmon lists the beer options she had available, and also describes her use of bars as a study spot.

Keywords: Academia; Craft beer; Grad school; Home brewing; Jackie Zita; New Belgium Fat Tire Ale; Rogue Dead Guy beer; Studying in bars; Work and education; Zita, Jackie

Subjects: Bars; Beer; Black studies; Graduate teaching assistants; Portland State University; Tornadoes; University of Minnesota; Women's studies

00:58:35 - Life in Minneapolis

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Partial Transcript: What was it like to move to Minneapolis?

Segment Synopsis: Hedgmon talks more generally about living in Minneapolis and the city’s culture. She recounts her adjustment to the bitter winters in Minnesota, including a story about her hair freezing solid and breaking off when wet. She also lists off common phenomena in the city, such as high murder rates, poor transportation and an enriched nightlife.

Keywords: Minneapolis climate; Minneapolis culture; Minneapolis murder rates; Winter clothing; Winter in Minneapolis

Subjects: Minneapolis (Minn.); Murder; Murder and crime; Night life; Public transportation; Snow

01:04:23 - Home brewing in Minneapolis / Returning to Portland

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Partial Transcript: So, was there a home brewing scene there?

Segment Synopsis: While living in Minneapolis, Hedgmon deeply developed her passion and ability in home brewing that had started while she was still in Portland. She illustrates the brewing process from buying supplies to the actual cooking and fermentation, as well as the atmosphere created by the foul smell from the ingredients. Hedgmon also spent a lot of time experimenting with different foods and drinks to ferment, and specifically tells one story about fermenting a whole chicken. She goes on to explain how brewing was an escape from her unhappiness in graduate school, and that she’d spend more time making beer than writing her dissertation. Eventually, Hedgmon returned to Portland, and she describes how she eventually gave up her research and teaching for brewing.

Keywords: Bragget; Brewing experiments; Brewing supply stores; Escapism; Home brewing; Meat fermentation

Subjects: Beer; Dissertation; Fermentation; Mead; Minneapolis (Minn.); Portland (Or.); Teaching; Wine; Women's studies

01:12:47 - Graduate School Research/Teaching

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Partial Transcript: You weren't happy with, uh, being in the academic world, teaching world?

Segment Synopsis: Hedgmon explains the focus of her graduate research in the impact of emotional labor on women of color in education. She describes what emotional labor is, as well as the history in research of different professions within this focus. Her ultimate goal with the research was to provide teachers of color with strategies to deal with discrimination and emotional labor in the classroom. Hedgmon notes her retrospective realization that her research was too esoteric to teach on a general level, and how she would have been better suited in a different graduate program. She then describes her own experiences as a teacher in her women’s studies class, and the impact her tattoos and general appearance had on the classroom environment.

Keywords: Academic research; Emotional labor; Emotional labor in education; Feminist pedagogy; University for Teaching and Learning

Subjects: Personal appearance; Racism in education; Sexism in education; Tattooed women; Tattoos (Body markings); Teaching strategies

01:18:47 - Gender, Race and the Brewing Community

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Partial Transcript: So what, did you- oh, so much there.

Segment Synopsis: Hedgmon talks about the comparison between her classroom and her brewing experience in regards to race and gender perceptions. She notes the lack of women in the professional and home brewing fields at the time of her start in the Portland community, but she also acknowledges that the brewing community is more inclusive than others she’s seen. Hedgmon discusses the frustrations she’s had as a woman of color with not being taken seriously by consumers, and the amusement at being mistaken with another home brewer.

Keywords: Gendered stereotyping; Mansplaining; Racial Generalization; Racial Stereotyping; Sexism and Racism; Women of color in home brewing

Subjects: Brewing industry--Oregon--Portland--History; Identity; Inclusion, Social; Recognition; Sexism--United States--History

01:25:03 - Transition into Brewing Professionally

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Partial Transcript: Um, so, so I'm curious though.

Segment Synopsis: Hedgmon talks about her professional transition into brewing after leaving academia and the various opportunities to kickstart her career. She also lists all the places she’s worked at or otherwise been involved with, including Ladies of Lager Ales, Pints and FA Steinbarts. Hedgmon reflects on her good fortune to have a supportive brewing community, as well as the positive change in seeing more women brewers. She also discusses her efforts to support other women brewers, including running for president of the Oregon Brew Crew and volunteering at local brewing festivals. She states that it’s important to help women get involved with brewing competitions and receiving awards for their hard work.

Keywords: Brewing competitions; Coalition Brewing Program; Ladies of Lager Ales; Oregon Brew Crew; Pink Boots Society; Women in brewing

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Beer festivals; Breweries; Brewing industry--Oregon--Portland--History; Recognition

01:36:56 - Impact of the Pink Boots Society / Community Inclusion

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Partial Transcript: What about- so, what has the role of Pink Boots been?

Segment Synopsis: Hedgmon discusses how the Pink Boots Society brings all women associated with brewing together and offers a space for them to get advice on dealing with sexism in the workplace. She reflects on this aspect of the society through a personal story of a male coworker trying to help out without asking. She states that the big issue is that there need to be practices in place to make things safe for everyone and allow them to ask for help. Hedgmon does note, though, that she’s had experience with sexist and racist actions in the brewing industry than in others, but still states that institutional changes are necessary.

Keywords: Home brewing; Inclusion in brewing; Pink Boots Society; Racism in brewing; Sanctuary community; Sexism in brewing; Women in brewing

Subjects: Beer and brewing; Beer--Analysis; Beer--Marketing; Brewing industry; Community; Inclusion; Professional ethics

01:45:52 - Take-away Messages from Being in the Brewing Community

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Partial Transcript: So, what are you, um, what are you proud of?

Segment Synopsis: Hedgmon states that she’s proud of making the choice to join the brewing industry and have it work out. She reflects on all the lessons she’s learned through brewing professionally and at home in honing her craft through artistic and scientific elements, and how all her other experiences culminated in her brewing career and her community involvement as an activist. Hedgmon concludes with saying she’s learned how to pick and choose her battles.

Keywords: Activism; Changing professions; Inexpensive methods; Overcoming fear

Subjects: Art and science; Beer and brewing; Experiential learning; Overcoming obstacles; Social justice