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Voices of Change: CCOH Honors Black History Month

Voices of Change

Since its founding in 1948, the Columbia Center for Oral History (formerly the Oral History Research Office) has worked to capture and preserve the extraordinary experiences of ordinary Americans. Today, the CCOH archive contains more than 8,000 interviews, which elucidate some of the most historically significant developments of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Reverberating from our archives are the voices of African American leaders, educators, artists, entertainers and change agents such as Thurgood Marshall, Sadie T. M. Alexander, James Baldwin and Smokey Robinson, who have shattered ceilings, crossed boundaries, redefined genres and lived history. Never confined to one region or historical experience, our collection offers a comprehensive view of the events and issues that have shaped the African American experience.

As part of CCOH’s ongoing effort to digitize our collection and make our archives available to the public, we are marking Black History month with “Voices of Change,” highlighting some of our most fascinating and inspiring excerpts — starting with a selection from a 1977 interview with Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Well-known for leading the charge against the “separate but equal” doctrine in public education in the landmark case of Brown V. Board of Education, Marshall argued more cases before the United States Supreme Court than anyone else in history, before becoming the Court’s 96th justice and its first African American justice. In the following clip Marshall recounts how he first learned of his appointment and his candid conversation with President Lyndon Johnson on the evolving nature of their relationship on the morning of his appointment in the Oval Office.




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To Document, To Change, or To Listen: Testimony’s Unplanned Impact

WHO: Independent documentary filmmaker and human rights activist Taylor Krauss discusses documenting Rwandan genocide. Staff will be on hand to talk with prospective students about the Oral History Master of Arts (OHMA) program!

WHEN: Tuesday, October 25, 2011, 6:00-8:00pm.

WHERE: Columbia University, International Affairs Building, Room 801. Enter campus at 116th Street, at either Broadway or Amsterdam. MAP

ABOUT THE WORKSHOP : The Oral History Master of Artskrauss1 program, Columbia Center for Oral History, and the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy will host Taylor Krauss, founder of Voices of Rwanda, as part of the Oral History Seminar Series. Krauss will discuss his work recording and preserving testimonies of Rwandans, ensuring that their stories inform the world about genocide and inspire a global sense of responsibility to prevent human rights atrocities. He will also share the unplanned impact that creating a space for documenting memories had at the local level in Rwanda, as well as within the survivor community.

There will also be a presentation from faculty and alumni about the Oral History Master of Arts (OHMA), a multi-disciplinary program that utilizes theoretical approaches across the social sciences and humanities.

Hear more about Taylor Krauss and his work in his own words:

SPONSORS: This talk is part of the “Oral History Workshop Public Lecture Series,” co-sponsored by the Columbia Center for Oral History (CCOH), and the Oral History Master of Arts Program (OHMA). OHMA is supported by the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP).