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[Last name, First name], Oral history interview conducted by [Interviewer’s First name Last name], [Month DD, YYYY], [Title of Collection], [Call #]; Brooklyn Historical Society.
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Karen Morrissey and Robert Ripp
Oral history interview conducted by Robert Sember
July 29, 1992
Call number: 1993.001.09
Oral History Interview with Karen Morrissey and Robert Ripp
Robert (Rob) Ripp is a gay man whose friend and lover Michael died of complications related to HIV/AIDS at the age of twenty-six years old on March 30, 1992. At the time of the interview, Ripp lived in the Park Slope / Carroll Gardens area of Brooklyn and was thirty years old. He grew up on Long Island, and moved to New York when he was twenty-three. In the interview he comes across as both spiritual and political. Ripp was a member of ACT UP.
Karen Morrissey is a heterosexual woman, whose brother Michael died of complications related to HIV/AIDS. Morissey is a mother, daughter, sister and teacher in relation to HIV/AIDS.
This interview focuses on the life, death and relationships of artist and dancer Michael through the point of view of his sister Karen Morrissey and his lover Robert (Rob) Ripp. Together they discuss serodiscordant couples, spirituality in the face of death, the lack of governmental response to HIV/AIDS, witnessing and supporting someone navigating healthcare, and the impact of HIV/AIDS on family, friends and community. Ripp speaks specifically about his understanding of HIV/AIDS as a gay man. Both reflect on being near Michael when he died. Morissey recalls how she came to learn more about homosexuality and HIV/AIDS through her brother and how she was awed by her brother's spirit in the face of adversity. At times, Ripp's and Morrissey's experiences dovetail with one another. Interview conducted by Robert Sember.
The AIDS/Brooklyn Oral History Project collection includes oral histories conducted for an exhibition undertaken by the Brooklyn Historical Society in 1993. The project attempted to document the impact of the AIDS epidemic on Brooklyn communities. Recordings initially made on magnetic tape concerned the epidemic and were with narrators who had firsthand experience with the crisis in their communities, families and personal life. Narrators came from diverse backgrounds within Brookyn and the New York metropolitan area and had unique experiences which connected them with HIV/AIDS. Substantive topics of hemophilia, sexual behavior, substance abuse, medical practice, social work, homelessness, activism, childhood, relationships and parenting run through at least one, and often several, of the oral histories in the collection.
CitationMorrissey, Karen and Robert Ripp, Oral history interview conducted by Robert Sember, July 29, 1992, AIDS/Brooklyn Oral History Project collection, 1993.001.09; Brooklyn Historical Society.
- ACT UP New York (Organization)
- Morrissey, Karen
- New York (N.Y.). Department of Social Services
- New York (State). AIDS Institute
- Ripp, Robert
- AIDS (Disease)
- AIDS activists
- Family life
- HIV infections
- HIV-positive persons
- Sexual health
- Stigma (Social psychology)
- Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
- Carroll Gardens (New York, N.Y.)
- New York (N.Y.)
- Park Slope (New York, N.Y.)
Finding AidAIDS/Brooklyn Oral History Project collection