Oral Histories of the Jim Crow South Now Available Online

Photo: Duke University Libraries.

From 1993 to 1995, dozens of graduate students at Duke University and other schools fanned out across the South and conducted 1,260 interviews with African Americans who lived through the Jim Crow era of racial segregation. These interviews were recorded on cassette tape and became part of the special collections of the Duke University Libraries.

Now the library has placed digitized versions of 100 of these interviews on its website in an online exhibit called “Behind the Veil: Documenting African American Life in the Jim Crow South.” Visitors to the site can search the database to identify the subjects of the interviews by gender, state, and occupation.

In one interview, Ernest A. Grant of Tuskegee, Alabama, relates a story about his mother who was forced to leave town after she burned a white insurance agent with an iron after he had made unwanted sexual advances toward her. In another interview, Army lieutenant colonel Jesse Johnson describes officer training at the segregated camp at Fort Lee, Virginia, in the 194os.

Related Articles


Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

University of Virginia School of Law Establishes the Education Rights Institute

The new institute, led by law professor Kimberly Jenkins Robinson, aims to ensure that all students receive a high-quality K-12 education and help schools understand how to address obstacles facing disadvantaged students.

In Memoriam: Francine Oputa, 1953-2023

During her 30-year career at Fresno State, Dr. Oputa served as director of the Center for Women and Culture and director of the Central Valley Cultural Heritage Institute. She retired as director of the Cross Cultural and Gender Center in 2021.

Is the Black-White Income Gap Finally Shrinking for Good?

In 2019, the median Black household income was 59.7 percent of the median income of non-Hispanic White families. In 2022, In the income gap was 65.2 percent.

Study Finds Blacks More Likely to Live Behind Decaying Levees Than Whites

While nationwide the disparity for Blacks is less than 20 percent, there are high levels of disparity for Black populations behind levees in Kentucky (284 percent) and Tennessee (156 percent).

Featured Jobs