The Black Oral History Collection consists of interviews conducted by Quintard Taylor and his associates, Charles Ramsay and John Dawkins. They interviewed African American pioneers and their descendents throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana, from 1972-1974. The project began in the summer of 1972, when the Black Studies Department was provided with $1500 in university funds to begin preliminary research on sources of black history in the Pacific Northwest. Since it seemed that few blacks left a written record of themselves, important information was passed on from one generation to the next by word of mouth. Topics discussed in the interviews include early black settlers, job opportunities, social life and community, living patterns, black churches, and black political involvement from the late 1800s through 1974. Most of the interviews follow a standard set of questions.
Searching the Database:
Entering search terms in the box located at the top of the page will search across all of the database fields. Search results are displayed as a series of icons that may be browsed, both forward and backward. To listen to the interview, click on the icon. A media player will appear and the interview will begin playing. To read the description of the interview, click on the text below the icon. Any highlighted text in the description is searchable; clicking on the text will execute a search on that term. If you are viewing the description and want to listen to the interview, click on the file name listed next to the heading "Listen to Interview".
Creating the Database:
Jon Haupt, Eydie Detera, Tammara Turner, Margie Patton, and Tess Mayer of the Information School of the University of Washington added RM files to the CONTENTdm database, using URLs pointing to a RealSystem Server, created the descriptive records, and provided subject and genre terms. Mark O'English refined the records and added further files to the database, creating records and genre terms for those. Al Cornish provided technical support for CONTENTdm. Michael Walpole provided technical support with the audio files, and aided the Information School team with Trevor Bond in the site's design. Mark O'English, Alex Merrill, and Jeff Kuure reformatted the files and redesigned the site and file access in 2010, migrating audio files from Real Media to mp3 format viewed through Adobe Flash.