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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

CSC Oral History Research Program papers

Repository: Chicago State University. Archives and Special Collections

Collection Description (CRHP): 30-40 interviews (reel-to-reel original tapes and transcripts) can be found in the collection, including those conducted with African American politician William E. King, Chicago police chief Orlando Wilson, Elizabeth Wood (head of the Chicago Housing Authority), Judge Sidney A. Jones and several police officers and labor leaders. A commemorative service for Martin Luther King, Jr., was also recorded.

Collection Description (Extant): Between 1967 and 1969 the Chicago State College Oral History Project attempted to write a comprehensive oral history of the city of Chicago. As a letter to prospective interviewees stated, "We are engaged in the compilation of an oral history of Chicago covering all aspects of the city's life and growth as far back as the memories of our interviewees will take us." The hugely ambitious project attempted to cover "the whole scope of our city's endeavors." It was directed initially by Henry E. Simmons, a member of the history department at CSC known for his writings on the Civil War. In 1968 Simmons was replaced as director by Thomas DePasquale. More interviews were conducted in 1968 but soon after the project became dormant. Others closely involved included the African-American Studies scholar Arvarh Strickland, Bernard Johnson, and Margaret Burroughs of the DuSable Museum.

By late 1967 the project claimed to have amassed 150,000 feet of taped interviews. Particularly remarkable are the extensive newspaper clippings on prospective interviewees and subjects of the oral history. The collection represents the remnants of a difficult but valuable effort to record Chicago's history through the voices of people who helped make it.

The papers include dozens of interviews with Chicagoans of all walks of life, including politicians, social workers, police officers, and educators. Many of the interviews have been edited into seamless narratives without interviewers' questions. The collection also includes correspondence with prospective interviewees and extensive files of newspaper clippings on potential targets, many of whom were never interviewed.

Date(s): 1937-1974

Digital Status: No

Existing IDs: LIS-ASC

Extent: 9 cartons; 50 tape reels (7 in.)

Finding Aid URL: External Link

Language: English

Interviewees: William E. King, Orlando Wilson, Elizabeth Wood, Sidney A. Jones

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights


African American police
African American politicians--Illinois
African Americans--Civil rights--Illinois
Chicago (Ill.)--Race relations
Chicago Housing Authority
Civil rights movements--Illinois
King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968--Assassination
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Police--Community relations


Sound recordings


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   May 15, 2015
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