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Oral Histories

The Alabama State University Oral History Collection consists of recordings that date back to the 1970s, and they include transcripts, audio, and video interviews from various sources. The interviews are particularly informative as they record individuals recounting the historic events they participated in, or that they themselves witnessed. These individuals recreate facial expressions, mimic voice tone, dialect, and volume, as they recount episodes as common as from everyday life experiences, to shed light on events that changed the nation and influenced world events. 

The ASU Oral History Collection consists of over 150 interviews. ASU's Oral History Collection includes interviews with pivotal civil rights figures. They included conversations with E.D. Nixon, who bailed Rosa Parks out of jail and emerged to become one of the city’s most aggressive proponents of the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and Dr. Charles Goode Gomillion, who formed the Tuskegee Civic Association and worked to break down long-standing barriers to Black voter registration. These Oral Histories also include interviews with Reverend Ralph David Abernathy, who rose to become a pivotal figure in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, the MIA, and the SCLC. In addition the collection maintains interviews from James McFadden, an ASU student activist who participated in the 1960 sit-in movement, and interviews with Montgomery journalist Inez Baskin and civil right opponent, Alabama Governor John Paterson.

The ASU Oral History collection also reflects contributions by several professors and their classes. Interviews now housed in the ASU Oral History Collection come from Dr. Pamela D. Gay and her Fall 2005 English Literature Class as well as Dr. Shirley Jordan and her Spring 2006 Honors Class. The Patrons of the National Center for the Study of Civil Right and African American Culture at ASU also contributed interviews to the Collection. The ASU Oral Collection also reflects on-going recordings by archivist Dr. Howard Robinson, and oral history donations from Jean Gilman, Frye Gaillard, and Willy Siegel Leventhal. Other oral histories in the collection are part of larger projects conducted at Tuskegee Institute or Auburn University. In all, Alabama State University’s Oral History Collection is an important resource for individuals interested in the African American experience, Civil Rights, African American education, life in 20th century Alabama, and the history of Alabama State University.