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African American Faculty and Senior Staff Oral History Project

About the Project
Interview Transcripts
Audio / Video Excerpts
In Memoriam
Photo of Professor David Blackwell Teaching
Statistician David Harold Blackwell (pictured here)
was the first tenured black professor at UC Berkeley.


This collection of interviews explores the experiences of African American faculty and senior staff at UC Berkeley as part of the broader history of the University of California and its commitment to access and diversity. This project is grounded in the premise that higher education is one of the primary strategies for gaining social equality--access to employment and income--for historically disadvantaged communities. Moreover, the University, comprised of its students and faculty and administration, with all of its intellectual and financial resources operates as a critical touchstone in processes of systemic social change. Therefore the university functions not simply as an educational institution, but also as a significant site of past and future potential for imagining and crafting opportunity for ethnic and racial groups formerly excluded from higher education. This project recognizes that the University of California, as California's premier public educational institution, plays a significant role in the socio-economic mobility of all of California's residents. The story that we hope will emerge from this project is a story of California--its people and one of its most important public institutions.


Now exhibiting in the Rowell cases in the Bancroft-Doe corridor through September 1, 2014.

THE ORIGINALS
AFRICAN AMERICAN FACULTY AND SENIOR ADMINISTRATORS AT UC BERKELEY

This exhibition highlights the Regional Oral History Office (ROHO)’s recently completed project to conduct interviews with 18 pioneering African American faculty and senior administrators who joined Berkeley before the advent of affirmative action policies in the 1970s. By their example, achievements, and professional work these leaders helped lay the groundwork for diversity and access at the university, opening doors of opportunity and economic uplift for all traditionally disadvantaged and underrepresented groups in the state. Transcript excerpts, photographs, correspondence, publications, and other documentation from ROHO, the University Archives, and the Bancroft Library manuscript collections illustrate the experiences of these pioneers.
In 2002, The Bancroft Library’s Regional Oral History Office began interviewing African American faculty who had come to Berkeley before the late 1970s as part of the African American Faculty and Senior Staff Oral History Project. The project was conceived by former Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Russ Ellis, and former ROHO Director and Professor of History, Richard Cándida Smith, as part of ROHO’s longstanding commitment to documenting the history of the University of California.

EXHIBITION CURATORS
Neil Henry, Director, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library
Linda Norton, Senior Editor, Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library
Kathryn Neal, University Archivist, The Bancroft Library
Alison Wannamaker, Exhibition Coordinator, The Bancroft Library

ROHO SERIES INTERVIEWERS AND PROJECT STAFF
Nadine Wilmot, Kathryn Stine, Leah McGarrigle, Tim Troy, Caroline Crawford, Martin Meeker, David Dunham, Linda Norton, and Richard Cándida Smith.

Special thanks to Lorna Kirwan and Bancroft Public Services, Dan Johnston and the Library Digital Imaging Lab, and the staff in Doe Library Newspaper/Microforms.

THIS EXHIBITION IS ON DISPLAY IN THE ROWELL CASES IN THE BANCROFT-DOE CORRIDOR FROM MAY 1–SEPTEMBER 1, 2014.


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