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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

Bootheel project, records

Repository: State Historical Society of Missouri

Collection Description (CRHP): This collection contains substantial materials about black life in the Bootheel, and it merits additional study with regard to freedom struggles in this region.

Collection Description (Extant): The Bootheel Underserved Arts Communities Project, undertaken in 1993 and 1994, was organized by the Missouri Folk Arts Program, a unit of the Museum of Art and Archaeology at the University of Missouri-Columbia in co-sponsorship with the State Historical Society of Missouri. The project received grant funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Missouri Arts Council. The goals of the project were to encourage local creativity, elevate public awareness, and promote appreciation for local and regional art.

The Missouri Bootheel, consisting of several counties in the southernmost region of the state, was visited by a team of researchers in the spring of 1994. This research team included oral historians, folklorists, an ethnomusicologist, and graduate student interns. The largest period of field research was conducted March 12-20, 1994. Subsequent visits to the field took place in April, July, and August 1994. While in the field the team conducted informal taped interviews with local artists and key community members who were encouraged to summarize their personal histories and self-evaluate their work and experiences. Researchers also documented public and private performances, events, and displays with audio cassette recording, photography, and field notes. Ephemeral material was also collected during the survey.

The project culminated in a gathering of interested artists, local historians, scholars, and citizens in Portageville, Missouri, on 27 August 1994 for Bootheel Art and Heritage Day.

[...] The Bootheel Project Records contain photographs, slides, taped interviews, and miscellaneous materials gathered during field research in the Missouri Bootheel in the southeast region of the state.

[...] The Audio/Visual Materials series consists of the audio cassettes, records, and video cassettes collected during the project. Included are the recordings of the interviews, arranged alphabetically by field worker name, sampler tapes with selected pieces of interviews used for presentations on the Bootheel, and pre-recorded audio cassettes of musicians from the region. This series also contains several 45 RPM records of area artists singing blues, gospel, and rockabilly.

Two video cassettes are included in this series. One contains interviews with Charles Baker, a long time resident of Dunklin County, Missouri and Ray Brassieur, Bootheel Project Coordinator. These interviews were conducted by Rosemary Burcham and appeared on a local cable access channel. The second video cassette was taken at the Wednesday Federated Music Club in Kennett, Missouri, and depicts two music programs put on by this group.

Access Copy Note: Listen to or view the interviews for free at any one of the four State Historical Society of Missouri branches; materials are loaned across the system.

Date(s): 1993-1997

Existing IDs: C3928

Extent: 3.2 linear feet, 161 audio cassettes, 9 records, 2 video cassettes

Finding Aid URL: External Link

Language: English

Related Archival Items: At the State Historical Society of Missouri, St. Louis, see also sl 598 PITTMAN, ANN (1908-), MISSOURI FOLKLORE PROJECT, 1997. (7 FOLDERS, 11 TAPES) This project documents the life of Ann Washington Pittman, African American folklorist and singer.

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


African American artists
African American arts
African American churches--Missouri
African American musicians
African Americans--Missouri
African Americans--Social life and customs
Blues (Music)
Missouri--Race relations


Sound recordings


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   May 15, 2015
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