crown CU Home > Libraries Home
Columbia Center for Oral History Portal >

Black women oral history project : oral history, 1976-1980.

Project: Black women oral history project.
(see all project interviews)
Phys. Desc. :Transcripts 3,056 leaves.
Location: Columbia Center for Oral History
Full CLIO record >>

Scope and Contents

Undertaken by the Schlesinger Library of Radcliffe College in 1976, this project records the memoirs of selected black American women aged seventy and over who had strong impacts on their communities through either their professional contributions or voluntary service. The participants, who represent different areas of the United States, speak candidly of growing up during the early years of the struggle for racial equality, prior to the civil rights movment. They recall their childhood religious experiences and educational and cultural opportunities. Many offer family genealogies, including stories passed from generation to generation about slave and Indian forebears. Pioneers in the ranks of business, social work, medicine, government, trade unions, athletics, and education, they emphasize the effect of race and gender on an individual's success. There are new insights into the opportunities that World War II created for women and blacks in the professions, and extensive discussions of organizations which broadened the public awareness of black culture, such as the YWCA, Urban League, NAACP and the National Council of Negro Women. Many notable leaders figure in these accounts, including Adam Clayton Powell, Alain Locke, Whitney Young, Meta Warrick Fuller, Mr. and Mrs. Booker T. Washington, Dr. George Washington Carver, Mrs. Jennie B. Moton, Mary McLeod Bethune, Paul Robeson, W.E.B. Du Bois, A. Philip Randolph, Richard Wright, Langston Hughes, and Mary Church Terrell. Initial funding was provided by the Rockefeller Foundation, and later supplemental grants were received from the Blanchard Foundation, the Boston Safe Deposit and Trust Company, and the National Institute for the Aging. Complete sets of the transcripts have been deposited at thirteen college and university libraries and oral history offices throughout the country, of which the Columbia University Oral History Research Office is one. Participants, pagination and restrictions as noted: Jessie Abbott, 32; Christia V. Adair, 54; Frankie V. Adams, 15; Lucy Rucker Aiken, Neddi Rucker Harper and Hazel Rucker, 39; Frances Albrier, 301; Margaret Walker Alexander, 59 (permission required); Sadie T. M. Alexander, 14 (permission required); Elizabeth Cardozo Barker, 42; Norma Boyd, 28; Melnea A. Cass, 140; May Edward Chinn, 91; Juanita Jewel Craft, 33; Clara Dickson, 20; Alice A. Dunnigan, 37; Alfreda Barnett Duster, 66; Eva B. Dykes, 19; Mae Massie Eberhardt, 42; Florence Jacob Edmunds, 58; Lena Edwards, 84; Virginia Clark Gayton, 29; Frances Grant, 55 (permission required); Ardie Clark Halyard, 26; Pleasant Harrison, 92; Beulah S. Hester, 73; May Edwards Hill, 43; Margaret Cardozo Holmes, 15; Clementine Hunter, 21; Fidelia Johnson, 17; Lois Mailou Jones, 46; Susie W. Jones, 35; Virginia Lacy Jones, 30; Hattie Simmons Kelly, 138; Maida Springer Kemp, 101; Flemmie P. Kittrell, 45; Eunice Rivers Laurie, 24; Catherine Cardozo Lewis, 20; Inabel Burns Lindsay, 60; Eliza Champ McCabe, 27; Miriam Matthews, 81; Lucy Miller Mitchell, 100; Julia Smith, 118; Olivia Pearl Stokes, 88; Ann Tanneyhill, 54; Constance Allen Thomas, 66; Era Bell Thompson, 46 (permission required); Mary Crutchfield Thompson, 61; Bazoline Estelle Usher, 58; Dorothy West, 75; Frances H. Williams, 30; Deborah Cannon Partridge Wolfe, 69; Arline Stewart Yarborough, 51.


Access Conditions

Permission required to cite, quote, and reproduce. Contact Schlesinger Library for information.

Using this collection

Columbia Center for Oral History

Columbia University
535 West 114th Street
801 Butler Library, Box 20
New York, NY 10027
(212) 854-7083


Columbia Center for Oral History