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Oral history video archive
Featuring contemporary African-American achievers
Add-on to Black Studies Center

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This resource is a digital archive of 100 videos of oral history interviews of contemporary African Americans, produced in partnership with The HistoryMakers (, a non-profit organization founded by Julieanna Richardson in 1999 with the mission of uncovering and preserving the untold stories of America.

The HistoryMakers is available as an add-on module to the Black Studies Center. These digital oral histories depict those who have broken barriers and accomplished significant achievements across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries in business, science, education, government, entertainment, sports, and other fields. These are 2-3 hour digitized videos, fully subject-indexed, available for online viewing in full, or in segments. Search or browse through the list by name, occupation, or theme. Watch and hear firsthand experiences including education and career struggles and triumphs. Create accounts of ancestor history, childhood, or Civil Rights- era relevant playlists for your class, research papers, or projects.

Highlights of the collection:

  • A wide array of disciplines and occupations are represented: scholars, physicians, entrepreneurs, artists, musicians, sports figures, political leaders, and social activists, among others.
  • The stories behind many African American firsts -- in science, business, government, law, and education – are told, many for the first time.
  • Details of family histories and the social dynamics of the Black family across the U.S. and through generations are revealed.
  • Riveting, firsthand accounts of segregation and discrimination in society, the military, business, and education are conveyed.
  • Key figures in the 1950s and 1960s Civil Rights movement describe the unknown and fascinating stories behind the planning and the participation in sit-ins, demonstrations, and marches.
  • The 1960s and 1970s are portrayed by personal accounts in the Black Power movement, the Black Panther Party, and the Black Arts movement.
  • Contemporary figures, such as Barack Obama, Jesse Jackson, Jr., and artist Leon Stull, a Marvel Comics graphic artist and hip-hop musician, offer new generational perspectives to the African American experience.

Functionality features include: 

  • Subject-indexed video and transcript sections for effective finding and viewing
  • Video content that is browsable by name of interviewee, occupation, and theme
  • Searchable transcripts that may be downloaded as PDFs
  • Captioned video playback, which may be turned on or off while viewing
  • Video clip creation by users, which may be saved in MyArchive

Black Studies Center is a leading resource that supports research, teaching, and learning in Black Studies and other disciplines that benefit from a more detailed coverage of the Black Experience across many disciplines, such as history, literature, political science, sociology, philosophy, and religion.  It is comprised of the Schomburg Studies on the Black Experience, the International Index to Black Periodicals, the Chicago Defender newspaper (1910-1975), the Marshall Index, the Black Literature Index, and numerous full-text articles, reports, chapters, and multimedia items.

  • Content Type: Video and Audio

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