Grambling University


Grambling State University’s History Department is embarking on a digital oral history project in an effort to preserve voices from historically disadvantaged populations against whom Covid-19 has disproportionately affected. The SSRC/NEH SHIP grant will be instrumental in acquiring the intellectual and material foundations to record the history of the African American experience in Northern Louisiana as it intersects with the 120 years of Grambling State University’s existence. In particular, our project will interrogate four historical strands: Civil Rights at a rural-HBCU; rural African-American religion institutions and HBCUs; HBCUs and the Rosenwald schools; and Town-Gown relations between HBCUs and their town. The SSRC/NEH SHIP grant will enable us to bring a diverse group of historians who can contextualize our targeted oral history strands through public lectures and student workshops in order to educate students as they prepare to conduct informed interviews as well as engage our community stakeholders from whom we will gather interviews. Beyond this intellectual foundation, the SSRC/NEH funds will provide our historically under-funded and under-resourced HBCU department with the equipment to record and create high-quality audio oral histories. By the end of this grant period, we will consider our project successful if we have conducted and electronically made available a minimum of 20 oral histories, five within each of the strands. Moreover, we would consider our series of public conversations to be successful if we are able to have at least 300 attendees over the course of the four conversations. Ultimately, this grant will enable us to have the material and intellectual foundation to continue this project beyond the scope of the grant described here as we continue to record and disseminate local oral history as we look towards commemorating the 125th anniversary of the founding of Grambling State University.