Oral History Project Preserves Stories of Black History Makers: Videotaped Interviews Ultimately to Be Made Available in Digital Archives. (Tech Talk)

By Roach, Ronald | Black Issues in Higher Education, January 30, 2003 | Go to article overview

Oral History Project Preserves Stories of Black History Makers: Videotaped Interviews Ultimately to Be Made Available in Digital Archives. (Tech Talk)


Roach, Ronald, Black Issues in Higher Education


One hundred years from now when a scholar researches the Black community of the early 21st century, he or she should have access to the History-Makers digital archive, a collection of videotaped interviews of more than 5,000 prominent Black Americans that will have been recorded from 1999 to 2007.

If all goes as planned with the HistoryMakers project, access to the entire archive will be available as early as the end of the decade.

"When we're finished, we will have interviewed 5,000 well-known and unsung African American history makers. Ultimately, the video oral histories will be available in digital archives," Julieanna Richardson, HistoryMakers' founder and executive director, recently told the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

Richardson launched the archival project in 1999 to expand awareness about the contributions of people of African descent in the United States. According to officials, more than 400 interviews have been completed. The HistoryMakers Web site is updated to inform readers of the roster of individuals along with short biographical sketches whose interviews have been completed.

Currently, the Web site lists notables, such as novelist Terry McMillan, physicist and More house College president Dr. Walter Massey, former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley-Braun, and performers Ossie Davis and Harry Belafonte. Each subject is interviewed from two to four hours about their lives from professional accomplishments to family stories. Some celebrity interviews have been conducted on stage before a paying audience as fund-raisers for the project. …

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