The Oral History Division’s mission is to supplement written records by storing the accounts of African-American community members and cultural leaders. The Division is located on the third-floor of Ayer Hall. For more information, contact:
Angela D. Stewart, Margaret Walker Center Archivist
Oral History Projects
BEHIND THE VEIL
This project focuses on documenting African-American experiences during the era of segregation (Jim Crow era) in Mississippi and the South.
BLACK CHURCHES IN JACKSON DURING INTEGRATION
This project collects opinions about the social impact of activities and various programs such as money collection, meetings, and support of organizations like the NAACP by churches to facilitate racial integration.
BLACKS IN EDUCATION IN JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI
This project seeks to interview persons in the local community who had in-depth knowledge about student life, experiences, incidents, and events within and outside the campus that affected education in the capital city, especially at Smith Robertson School, Lanier High School, Campbell College, Tougaloo College, and Jackson State University.
THE CLINTON PROJECT (1977)
This project deals with the history, causes, and evolution of the rapid growth of Clinton and its impact on the economy, education, politics, population, and community relations of the area.
FARISH STREET HISTORIC DISTRICT (1976-78, 1980-83, 1994, 2012-14)
This project documents the history, living conditions, relationships, churches, schools, centers, and other activities and institutions that were/are in the Farish Street Historic District of Jackson.
GOOD OLD DAYS (1976-77)
This project is a recollection of the “Good Old Days” by senior citizens who talk about their lives, times, achievements, and challenges from their early childhood through the various stages of life.
This collection documents the origins and operation of the Head Start Program, especially in relation to formal and informal preschool learning, educational and other services, institutions and curriculums, and an assessment of its impact on the mobilization of the black community in Mississippi to control its destiny economically and politically.
Initiated during the 2012-2013 academic year, this project chronicles the history of Jackson State University. Through oral histories conducted with “JSU Legends” like former President John A. Peoples, the project looks at the lives and times of these people and how they connect to Jackson State.
LABOR AS AN INSTRUMENT OF SOCIAL CHANGE (1975-76)
This collection currently consists of 54 interviews that detail the influence of the labor movement on civil rights. It examines the reciprocal impact of education, employment, professionals, professional and academic organizations and institutions on social change in Jackson, Mississippi.
MISSISSIPPI FUNK MUSIC
The Center’s newest collection, the Mississippi Funk Music Oral History Project examines the rich legacy of Funk Music in the state. When it comes to Mississippi’s Black music legacy, there is no question that gospel, blues, and soul reign supreme. But, Mississippi funk bands such as Freedom, Natural High, Wind Chimes, and Magna Funk have made an impact not just on music in America but globally as well.
PINEY WOODS COUNTRY LIFE SCHOOL (1979)
The 68 oral histories in this collection about one of three historically black boarding schools left in the United States include an interview with the school founder, Dr. Laurence C. Jones, and the topics covered included farmers’ conferences, community fairs, superstitions, integration, inter-racial and intra-racial discrimination, work activities, religious instruction, and auxiliary fundraising groups such as the Rays of Rhythm, the Sweethearts of Rhythm Band, choirs, and baseball teams. This collection was part of “A Case Study of a Black School’s Community Relationships,” which in turn was part of a larger project entitled “A Folk Community School with Oral Reminiscences.” It culminated in he publication of Piney Wood School: An Oral History by Dr. Alferdteen Harrison in 1982.
ROBERT CLARK ERA PROJECT ( 1974-83, 2006)
This collection focuses on the life and career of Robert Clark, one of the most influential African-American politicians in 20th Century Mississippi Politics, the first African-American elected to the Mississippi House of Representatives since Reconstruction in 1967, and the long-time Speaker Pro-Tempore of the House. Along with interviews with Clark himself and with those people who were close to him, the collection contains papers, documents, and campaign items.
WOMEN OF COURAGE/WOMEN’S ISSUES (1975-97)
This collection focuses on how black church women united, how black women campaigned for jobs in Jackson, and how black women organized other social, political, and economic activities. It deals with growing up as a woman, opportunities and challenges, female perspectives on American events and issues, and the accomplishments of courageous and outstanding women.