From OH to DH: Recovering, Interpreting, and Disseminating the Oral Histories of Liberation in Texas

On the CRBB's website, any user—people’s historians from all walks of life—can easily identify patterns in the vast interview data, seamlessly move from one interview clip to the next, and readily compile information for synthesis and comparison. No previous oral history project has allowed researchers to search in this manner and on this scale.

Lecture Description

Max Krochmal’s *Civil Rights in Black and Brown Oral History Project* collected more than 500 new interviews from grassroots activists in every corner of Texas in order to tell the stories of the state’s intersecting African American and Mexican American liberation struggles. Far from the gaze of the national media, Black and Brown activists combated the twin caste systems of Jim Crow and Juan Crow. These insurgents worked chiefly within their own racial groups, yet they also looked to each other for guidance and, at times, came together in solidarity. The movements sought more than integration and access: they demanded power and justice.

This lecture narrates the origins of the collaborative oral history project and explains its methodology as well as the development of its innovative digital humanities website. Geared for both scholars and community-based oral history practitioners, it provides nitty-gritty details on how Dr. Krochmal and his partners planned and coordinated the massive fieldwork required as well as how they consciously planned to distribute the interviews to a wide general public. While most oral history interviews remain lost in archives, CRBB created a free, user-friendly, publicly-accessible database of video clips, each with their own narrow subject terms and other metadata. The result: unprecedented access to previously hidden tales of race, racism, and community organizing–a true people’s history of the state’s intersecting Black and Chicanx liberation struggles.


Civil Rights Oral history

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