Civil Rights in Black and Brown illuminates Texas’s two civil rights movements—those of the region’s African American and Mexican American populations. A collaboration between Texas Christian University, the University of Texas at Arlington, the University of North Texas, and the University of Texas at Austin, the NEH-supported project collected more than 500 oral histories of civil rights activists and community organizers from twelve different sites scattered throughout the state.
For interviewees, Civil Rights in Black and Brown is an opportunity to share their perspectives and provide insight into the historical record. For researchers, scholars, teachers, and students, the archive is a chance to gain valuable and otherwise untold information on the history of the movement. The archive has already garnered widespread attention and use. Recently, Project Director Max Krochmal presented the site to seventh-grade history teachers in Texas, who will be able to incorporate the resource into their classrooms. The archive has also been used in urban planning research and by the human relations commission in Fort Worth.
Civil Rights in Black and Brown is ensuring that the interviews are accessible to researchers and the public. In addition to providing DVD copies of interviews to the interview subjects, the project published the interviews online, a process that involved breaking full interviews down into clips and linking each clip to search terms that denote information about the speaker and the topic. This labor-intensive process, which ensured that video clips are easy to access, came with its own set of benefits: 15 paid graduate students who worked on the project were able to support their studies while being trained in oral history.