Our Digital Collections not only feature manuscripts and photographs, but also audio. One of our audio collections is the Working Lives Oral History Project. Funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, this project focuses on black working class social history of Birmingham, Alabama, prior to World War II. It explores the implications of the immigration of blacks in the rural Deep South to urban metropolitan areas and the social history of first and second generation black wage earners within the context of urban-industrial development and social change. These interviews were conducted in 1984.
We currently have 72 of these interviews available in Acumen. Each interview is accompanied by a detailed description and transcript. Some of the interviews discuss the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham. Others describe working in coal mines and steel plants, the treatment of blacks in rural Alabama, life during the Depression, and attempting to register to vote.
From the main Working Lives page in Acumen, click on the headphones icons to open individual interviews. From there you will find the description of a particular interview and another headphones icon to click on which will open up the audio file. Please note that Quicktime is required to listen to our audio files and can be downloaded for free here.