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In Their Own Words...

The Living Oral History Project

These interviews serve as a road map illustrating what local African Americans witnessed, experienced, and contributed to building the community we share today. The associated LOH Digital Collection presents over 2,500 historical photographs and news articles from AADL’s Community Collections about major topics featured in the interviews, including Community Centers, Education, Housing, Employment, Entrepreneurship, and Faith. The LOH Walking Tour showcases historically Black neighborhoods in Ann Arbor. Click on the name for the interview.

Fred Adams | Lois Allen-RichardsonJames W. Anderson Jr | Leah Bass-Baylis | Mike BassGwendolyn Calvert-Baker | John W. Barfield | Shirley Beckley | Walter Blackwell | Rosemarion Alexander Blake | Hershal Brown | Jennifer BrownRussell Lee Calvert | Gerald D. Edwards | Henrietta Edwards | Robert W. Fletcher | Nelson Freeman | Premail Freeman | Tessie Ola Freeman | Sharon Gillespie | George GoodmanWilliam Hampton | William HendersonHortense Howard | Larry Hunter | Audrey Lucas | Patricia ManleyMary McDade | Patricia Horne McGee | Diana McKnight-MortonBarbara Jean Meadows | Joetta Mial | Thekla MitchellAudrey Monagan | Charles Morris | Lydia Belle Cromwell Morton | Willis Charles Patterson | Evelyn Payne | Johnnie Rush | David RutledgeJohnnie Mae (Jackson) Seeley | Essie Shelton | Donald Simons | Harold Simons | Alma Wheeler Smith | Laurita ThomasJanice Thompson | Dolores Preston Turner | James TurnerPaul E. WassonNancy Cornelia WheelerDorothy May Wilson

The Living Oral History Project is presented in partnership between the African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County and the Ann Arbor District Library.

The Intergenerational Dialogue on the Great Migration

The Intergenerational Dialogue on the Great Migration video series is a set of oral history interviews of local Black residents conducted by local students.  These interviews focus on the experiences of interviewees and their families during and after the Great Migration.  This project is a partnership between the Turner African American Services Council, the African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County, and the Ann Arbor District Library.The project is also the inspiration for the current exhibit at 1528 Pontiac Trail - Millions Moved.

Voices from the Past A.P. Marshall African American Oral Histories


40 years ago, Historian and EMU Professor A.P. Marshall interviewed dozens of leaders in Ypsilanti’s African American community, seeking to preserve the stories and struggles of a generation who lived through the Great Depression, WWII, and the Civil Rights movement.The online archive features the recording with a full transcript, annotations and photographs.

The A.P. Marshall Oral History Archive is a partnership between the Ypsilanti District Library and the African American Cultural and Historical Museum of Washtenaw County. This project is made possible in part by the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The A.P. Marshall African American Oral History Archive chronicles the lives and contributions of Black Ypsilantians, both past and present. To build on the original work of A.P. Marshall in the 1980s, this video was created during a tour of Ypsilanti’s historic South Side with five lifelong Ypsilanti residents on May 16, 2017. The short video captures the participants’ memories and conversations, many of which feature names and places from A.P. Marshall’s original interviews.

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