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Hear first-person stories of resilience from Hawaiʻi ag workers transitioning to tourism

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Hawaiʻi State Archives
An undated photo of a sugar plantation in Hāna, Maui

Before tourism, sugar and pineapple dominated Hawaiʻi’s economy, employing more than 19,000 workers. As part of a project with the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Ethnic Studies Center for Oral History, HPR is bringing you voices of Hawaiʻi's past — sharing life stories of resilience.

Ethnic Studies professor Ty Kāwika Tengan introduces three leaders of the ILWU Local 142 — the International Longshore and Warehouse Union. They talk about how plantation workers made the difficult transition from being agricultural laborers to providing services for tourists when sugar and pineapple production phased out.

Thanks to the work of the University of Hawaiʻi’s Oral History Center, we can hear directly from those who experienced certain events in our past.

Davianna McGregor, founding member of Ethnic Studies at UH Mānoa, is also the director of the Center for Oral History — a group we've been working with at HPR since 2018 — getting some of those voices of history on the air and on The Conversation.

We have a new project that we’re starting this month, focusing on “Resilient Community Voices” from Hawaiʻi’s past. She talked more about this project with HPR’s Bill Dorman.

This interview aired on The Conversation on Sept. 22, 2022. The Conversation airs weekdays at 11 a.m. on HPR-1.

Bill Dorman has been the news director at Hawaiʻi Public Radio since 2011.
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