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Schlesinger Library / Collections

Black Women Oral History Project

The Black Women Oral History Project interviewed 72 African American women between 1976 and 1981.

Group portrait of Black Women Oral History Project Advisory Board
Group portrait of Black Women Oral History Project Advisory Board. Radcliffe College Archives Picture Collection. Hollis #: 8001611347

With support from the Schlesinger Library, the project recorded a cross section of women who had made significant contributions to American society during the first half of the 20th century.

Many interviewees in the collection had professional careers in fields such as education, government, the arts, business, medicine, law, and social work. Other women who were interviewed combined care for their families with volunteer work at the local, regional, or national level.

During the interviews, women discuss

  • childhood;
  • education;
  • family background;
  • influences affecting their choice of primary career or activity;
  • professional and voluntary accomplishments; and
  • ways in which being black and a woman affected their opportunities.

Biographies, photographs, and transcripts as well as audio from the project are available online from the Library’s research guide to the Black Women Oral History Project Interviews, 1976–1981. 

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