Oral History, Civil Rights and the Archival Role
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The years 2003 to 2006 will witness the anniversaries of many of the events that represent the Modern Civil Rights Movement. With the 50th anniversary celebration of the historic Brown v Board decision, the court order to desegregate the Boston Public schools in 1974 and the ensuing convulsions it caused. Couple with this the city of Birmingham, Alabama having experienced its most violent period of civil right activities during the 1950s and 60s, which many of those organizations and institutions in Birmingham will be commemorating from 2004 to 2006. The March on Washington and the 100th anniversary of the publication of W.E.B. DuBois’s Souls of Black Folks behind us, this is an appropriate subject for our series. This issue of Africa Rising will chronicle how those professionals called archivist, charged with collecting, preserving, and making these important resources available to the public, view their role in this endeavor. This issue will show how oral histories have become a central component in the ongoing struggle to document, revise, and append the stories of the Modern Civil Rights Movement.