Category Archives: Interviews

Be Thankful for the Right to Vote

“A non-voter is not a half a citizen.” — Interview with H. D. Coke, 1984 Like Coke, many of the elderly African Americans interviewed for the Working Lives Oral History Project remember the struggle to register to vote during the … Continue reading

Fred Shuttlesworth

On May 3, 1963, peaceful demonstrators, many of them teenagers, are beaten back in downtown Birmingham by fire hoses and police dogs.  The extreme tactics, ordered by police commissioner Eugene “Bull” Connor brought international attention to Project C, the name … Continue reading

Life in the mines: Desegregated labor unions

Normally, we do a post on labor unions for labor day, but it seemed appropriate to bring up the subject for Black History Month, too. African Americans in Birmingham-area mines and industrial plants were often important leaders in efforts to … Continue reading

Life in the mines: The UMWA in Alabama

Last year for Labor Day, we shared a link to an interview with Cleatus and Louise Burns, about their experiences working in the coal mines and living in the mining camps in the first half of the 20th century, hazards … Continue reading

Life in the mines: why we are grateful for unions

Why do we celebrate Labor Day? Because of the major changes and protections (such as 8-hour work days) developed by labor unions in the United States. The early days of union organization were tough. Listen to Cleatus and Louise Burns … Continue reading

Snapshot into the 1960s with student magazine Farrago

Welcome back, students! I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that we’re just over a week away from the first football game of the season! Did you know that a UA student magazine, Farrago, interviewed Bear Bryant at the … Continue reading

The World of Camp Aliceville

Like hundreds of other communities in the U.S. during WWII, Aliceville, Alabama, was home to a prisoner of war camp. Between June 1943 and September 1945, Camp Aliceville saw hundreds of thousands of German soldiers come and go, a time which left an … Continue reading

Working Lives Oral History Project

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 … Continue reading