Using your library card, you can now enjoy Black history in the oral tradition via The HistoryMakers Digital Archive: the largest video archive of African American history spanning from the 1700s to the present day. This special collection of stories is told through intimate interviews with notable figures like President Barack Obama, MLB star Hank Aaron, and actor/comedian/TV personality Whoopi Goldberg, among others. These stories span many topics of the African American lived experience, including politics, art, science, education, activism, business, media, and entertainment. With high-quality primary source videos and transcripts, you can search topics by name, date, geography, topic, or keyword.
Prior to The HistoryMakers, there was only one other large-scale, methodic attempt to document African American history in the first person — the Works Progress Administration Project of the 1930s. While The HistoryMakers is an ongoing project, to date this collection features 149,317 stories assembled from life oral history interviews with 2,701 historically significant African Americans. The HistoryMakers has carried this tradition from the 20th century forward to the 21st century, joining the stories of the enslaved with the stories of their descendants permanently at the Library of Congress. The Free Library is proud to host this digital resource that highlights nearly a century of Black American achievements and struggles that previously went undocumented.
Find links to The HistoryMakers Digital Archive on the Free Library's digital resource portal. You’ll need your Free Library card number and PIN to log on.