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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

Black radio: telling it like it was

Repository: Indiana University. Archives of African American Music and Culture

Collection Description (CRHP): The 200+ interviews in this collection address an impressive range of sites and issues, including sexism and racism in the radio and music industries, as well as the roles played by black DJs, musicians, and journalists in the civil rights movement. The social impact of a number of genres--including gospel, blues, jazz, and rap--is discussed, and narrators also comment on events, issues, and people related to black freedom struggles across the United States. Topics include Martin Luther King Jr., Operation Breadbasket, economic justice for sharecroppers, boycotts and other demonstrations, the Black Panther Party, Negro Leagues baseball, and music in the context of race relations.

Collection Description (Extant): Production materials documenting the 13-part series on the role of radio in transforming the African American community in the twentieth century, produced in 1996 by Jacquie Webb for Smithsonian Productions, with assistance from the AAAMC. The collection contains over 400 hours of interviews and historical air-check tapes, in addition to photographs, articles, research files, and transcripts. The audio interviews feature conversations with over 150 well-known disc jockeys, radio professionals, record company executives, journalists, and scholars such as Ewart Abner, Peggy Mitchell Beckwith, Dorothy Brunson, James Brown, Ed Castleberry, Lucky Cordell, Frankie Crocker, Lavada "Hepcat" Durst, Nelson George, Jack Gibson, "Jocko" Henderson, Vy Higginsen, Maurice "Hot Rod" Hulbert, "Doctor" Mable John, E. Rodney Jones, Tom Joyner, Herb Kent, Hattie Leeper, Sid McCoy, Sidney Miller, Eddie O'Jay, Rev. Del Shields, Donnie Simpson, Novella "Dizzy Lizzy" Smith, Richard Stamz, Shelley Stewart, Percy Sutton, Martha Jean "The Queen" Steinberg, Rufus Thomas, Ike Turner, and Roy Wood.

Access Copy Note: Contact archives staff before visiting to ensure that listening copies are available.

Date(s): 1920s-1997

Digital Status: No

Existing IDs: SC 39

Extent: 4.3 linear feet (10 boxes) + 364 sound cassettes (analog, stereo, 1 7/8 ips)

Finding Aid URL: External Link

Language: English

Related Archival Items: Records about the marketing and production of the Smithsonian program "Black Radio: Telling It Like It Was" can be found at the Smithsonian Institution Archives (finding aids at and at

Interviewees: Rashad Abdul-Muhaimin, Ewart Abner, Obataiye B. Akinwole, Bill "Hossman" Allen, Barbara Andrews, Donald Baker, Bill Barlow, Vivian G. Barnes, Willie T. Barrow, Ralph Bass, Peggy Mitchell Beckwith, Al Bell, Mary Bell, Bobby Bennett, Al Benson, Al Benson, Julian Bond, Rané Boone, Jerry Boulding, James Brown, Oscar Brown, Jr., Dorothy E. Brunson, Willie Burrell, Imhotep Gary Byrd, Shirley A. Caesar, Earl Calloway, Doris Carr, Ed Castleberry, Jesse Champion, Sr., Donna T. Clement, Albert "Jazzbo" Collins, Gertrude Cooper, Lucky Cordell, Norman Corwin, Spencer Crew, Frankie Crocker, Stanley Dance, Ron Davenport, Clarice D. Durham, Lavada Durst, Ruth Ellington, Patrick Ellis, Mutter Evans, Erskine R. Faush, Sr., E. R. Ferguson, Nelson George, Jack Gibson, Hal Goldman, Ralph H. Goodpasteur, Jo Evelyn Grayson, Enoch Gregory, Clarence Hamann, Hunter Hancock, Ruby Harding, Stephen L. Harris, Tramaine A. Hawkins, Dee "Captain Pete" Henderson, Douglass W. "Jocko" Henderson, Natolyn Williams Herron, Vy Higginsen, Catherine L. Hughes, Maurice "Hot Rod" Hulbert, Harold B. Jackson, Mable "Doctor" John, Martha Lee Johnson, Bob Jones, E. Rodney Jones, Tom Joyner, James L. "Sunny Jim" Kelsey, Herbert Rogers Kent, B.B. King, George Kirby, Valerie L. Lee, Hattie Leeper, Kip Lornell, J. Fred MacDonald, Pluria W. Marshall, Cosimo V. Matassa, Portia K. Maultsby, Barry Mayo, George A. Mayoral, Ruth Annette McCauley, Larry McCormick, Charles L. McCoy, Quincy McCoy, Sid McCoy, Larry McKinley, Sidney Miller, Gatemouth Moore, Johnny Morris, Bill Morrison, Edmund J. Muniz, Ford Nelson, Art Neville, Mark Newman, Ben Nobles, Eddie O'Jay, Alfred O'Neal, Arleta J. Parker, Richard Pegee, John Phillips, Vermya H. Phillips, Pat Prescott, Albert M. Raglin, Lou Rawls, Bernice Johnson Reagon, Mark Riley, Bob Roberts, Joe Rudolph, Vince Sanders, Barbara D. Savage, Charles A. Scruggs, Marshall E. Sehorn, Candy Shannon, Charles R. Sherrill, II, Rev. Del Shields, Donnie Simpson, Karen E. Slade, Deloris Smalls, Huey P. Smith, Irma Thomas, Maxine A. Smith, Vasco Smith, Novella Smith, Wesley W. South, Melody Spann, Pervis Spann, Richard E. Stamz, Mark Stansbury, Candi Staton, Martha Jean "The Queen" Steinberg, Tex Stephens, Shelley "The Playboy" Stewart, Florence J. Summers, Percy E. Sutton, La Baron Taylor, Studs Terkel, Martha M. Thiele, Irma Thomas, Robert D. "Honeyboy" Thomas, Rufus Thomas, Cleon A. Thompson, Jr., George G. Thompson, Ike Turner, Donald Vails, Charles E. Walton, Irene Ware, Mel Watkins, Priscilla Watts, Kenneth J. Webb, Doug (aka Mark Carr) Williams, Nat D. Williams, Louise Williams-Bishop, Vernon Winslow, James L. Winston, Ernest C. Withers, Wolfman Jack, Roy N. Wood, George E. Woods

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


African American entertainers
African American farmers
African American journalists
African American musicians
African American radio broadcasters
Black nationalism
Black power
Civil rights movements--Press coverage
Discrimination in employment
Ku Klux Klan (1915- )
Negro leagues
Operation PUSH (U.S.)
Radio journalism
S.C.L.C. Operation Breadbasket


Sound recordings


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   September 26, 2018
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