WGBH Educational Foundation and the Library of Congress will preserve and make accessible to the public historic and contemporary episodes of Sesame Street.
BOSTON (February 14, 2019) – As Sesame Street begins to mark its 50th anniversary, the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the WGBH Educational Foundation, has announced that Sesame Workshop has donated a collection of digitized episodes from the past 50 years of Sesame Street, to be preserved for posterity. Over the next year, nearly 4,500 episodes from the first 49 seasons of the iconic children’s television program will be incorporated into the AAPB’s extensive archive of public media from across the United States. The Sesame Street collection will be available to view on-site at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. and by appointment at WGBH in Boston.
Street changed the landscape of children’s media at a time when television was
viewed as a ‘vast wasteland’ and transformed a medium that strongly appealed to
children into a source for knowledge and social development for our youngest
citizens,” said Sesame Street co-founder and AAPB Executive Advisory
Council Member Lloyd Morrisett, Jr. “I am proud that we are
entrusting the American Archive of Public Broadcasting with the task of
preserving Sesame Street’s stories
and characters for future generations.”
The Sesame Street preservation project comes
on the heels of Sesame Workshop’s announcement last week detailing plans to
celebrate Sesame Street’s 50th
year of broadcast. Sesame Workshop is the nonprofit education organization
behind Sesame Street, which has been
teaching and inspiring children since its first episode aired on November 10,
1969. Sesame Street’s groundbreaking
research-based methods, dedication to entertaining educational content and
outreach to families in underserved communities established a legacy for
educational television and for public media as a whole.
episodes preserved in the AAPB’s Sesame
Street collection are indelible scenes like the touching “Farewell, Mr.
Hooper,” in which Big Bird, the program’s guileless surrogate for curious
children, learns about death and how to cope;
Ernie’s “Rubber Duckie, You’re the One,” which made it to the 16th
spot on the Billboard top singles chart in 1970; Grover’s frantic back and
forth in “Near/Far,” Cookie Monster’s turn as “Alistair Cookie,” the cookie and
classics-obsessed host of Monsterpiece
Theater; and Kermit the Frog’s hopeful tune, “It’s Not Easy Being Green,”
which stressed self-acceptance.
historian and academic, I can’t stress enough the importance of preserving
groundbreaking media like Sesame Street, which
was the first TV show to address big issues like poverty, family and the
environment in a way that children could understand,” said Kathryn Ostrofsky, Ph.D. and
author of the forthcoming book Sounding
It Out: How Sesame Street Crafted American Culture. “Early episodes of Sesame
Street provide a window into the pressing issues of the times, as well as
changing views about education. The American Archive of Public Broadcasting’s Sesame
Street collection is a critical resource for studying and understanding so
many facets of these societal changes.”
of the AAPB is to digitize, preserve and make accessible historic public media
content from across the country, dating back to the early 1940s. Given its age,
much of the original audio and video tape is fragile and deteriorating. The
AAPB is in a race against time to ensure that future generations, researchers
and the public will be able to access these programs for years to come.
honored that Sesame Workshop has entrusted the preservation of their decades of
work to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting,” said Librarian of
Congress Carla Hayden. “To this day, Sesame
Street is a key part of our national educational, television and public
broadcasting landscape. I hope that everyone whose lives were touched by Sesame Street will visit the Library and
WGBH to experience this historic collection.”
The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) is a collaboration between the Library of Congress and the WGBH Educational Foundation to coordinate a national effort to preserve at-risk public media before its content is lost to posterity and provide a central web portal for access to the unique programming that public stations have aired over the past 70 years. To date, over 50,000 hours of television and radio programming contributed by more than 100 public media organizations and archives across the United States have been digitized for long-term preservation and access. The entire collection is available on location at WGBH and the Library of Congress, and more than 35,000 programs are available online at americanarchive.org.
WGBH Boston is
America’s preeminent public broadcaster and the largest producer of PBS content
for TV and the Web, including Masterpiece, Antiques
Roadshow, Frontline, Nova, American Experience,Arthur, Pinkalicious
& Peterrific, and more than a dozen other primetime, lifestyle and
children’s series. WGBH’s television channels include WGBH 2, WGBX 44, and the
digital channels World and Create. WGBH TV productions focusing on the region’s
diverse community include Greater Boston, Basic Black and High
School Quiz Show. WGBH Radio serves listeners across New England with
89.7 WGBH, Boston’s Local NPR®; 99.5 WCRB Classical Radio Boston; and WCAI, the
Cape and Islands NPR® Station. WGBH also is a major source of programs for public
radio (among them, PRI’s The World®), a leader in educational
multimedia (including PBS LearningMedia™, providing the nation’s educators with
free, curriculum-based digital content), and a pioneer in technologies and
services that make media accessible to deaf, hard of hearing, blind and
visually impaired audiences. WGBH has been recognized with hundreds of honors:
Emmys, Peabodys, duPont-Columbia Awards and Oscars. Find more information
About The Library of Congress
The Library of Congress is the world’s
largest library, offering access to the creative record of the United States —
and extensive materials from around the world — both on-site and online. It is
the main research arm of the U.S. Congress and the home of the U.S. Copyright
Office. Explore collections, reference services and other programs and plan a
visit at loc.gov; access the official site for U.S. federal legislative
information at congress.gov; and register creative works of authorship at copyright.gov.
The Abolitionists takes place during some of the most violent and contentious decades in American history, … bitter debates over the meaning of the Constitution and the nature of race. – American Experience
The Abolitionists Interview Collection is comprised of 51 raw interviews from the three-part American Experience miniseries of the same name, which aired on PBS in 2013. The series follows the lives of prominent abolitionists including Frederick Douglass, John Brown, Angelina Grimké, William Lloyd Garrison, and Harriet Beecher Stowe, and explores differing and often conflicting approaches to abolishing slavery in the United States.
The Abolitionists interviews examine the historical contexts of the subjects and their lasting legacy on American history and law. Interviews were conducted with authors, educators, and historians, including Manisha Sinha, Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst; James Brewer Stewart, Professor of History at Macalester College, and Founder of Historians Against Slavery; John Stauffer, author and Professor of English and African and African American Studies at Harvard University; and Lois Brown, Professor of African American Studies at Wesleyan University. Subjects discussed include abolition, slavery, racism, the American Constitution, Christianity, civil rights, and the American Civil War.
The Abolitionists interviews were conducted in 2012 for the three-part series of the same name. Nominated for a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series, Rob Rapley served as the director. In 2017, the WGBH Media Library and Archives digitized The Abolitionists interviews and in 2018 submitted them to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.
Manisha Sinha is Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She is the author of “The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina” (University of North Carolina Press, 2000) and “To Live and Die in the Holy Cause: Abolition and the Origins of America’s Interracial Democracy.”
James Brewer Stewart, James Wallace Professor of History Emeritus, Macalester College, retired, and the founder and director of Historians Against Slavery. Stewart’s books include Holy Warriors: The Abolitionists and American Slavery. He has published biographies of four very well-known enemies of slavery: Joshua R. Giddings, Wendell Phillips, William Lloyd Garrison, and Hosea Easton. His most recent books include Abolitionist Politics and the Coming of the Civil War (2008) and Venture Smith and the Business of Slavery and Freedom (2009).
Lois Brown is a professor in the African American Studies Program and the Department of English at Wesleyan University. Brown’s scholarship and research focus on African American and New England literary history and culture.
Erica Armstrong Dunbar, associate professor of Black American Studies with joint appointments in history and in women and gender studies at the University of Delaware.
Carol Berkin, Presidential Professor American Colonial and Revolutionary History; Women’s History, Weissman School of Arts and Sciences, Baruch College. Her publications include: Civil War Wives: The Life and Times of Angelina Grimke Weld, Varina Howell Davis, and Julia Dent Grant (2009).
John Stauffer is Chair of the History of American Civilization and Professor of English and African and African American Studies at Harvard University. Among his works include: GIANTS: The Parallel Lives of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln (2008), The Writings of James McCune Smith: Black Intellectual and Abolitionist (2006), and The Problem of Evil: Slavery, Freedom.
It was the year of the Beatles and the Civil Rights Act; of the Gulf of Tonkin and Barry Goldwater’s presidential campaign; the year that cities across the country erupted in violence and Americans tried to make sense of the Kennedy assassination. Raw interviews from American Experience’s film 1964 follows some of the most prominent figures of the time — Lyndon B. Johnson, Martin Luther King, Jr., Barry Goldwater, Betty Friedan — and brings out from the shadows the actions of ordinary Americans whose frustrations, ambitions and anxieties began to turn the country onto a new and different course.
The 1964 Interviews Collection is made up of 71 raw interviews from the American Experience documentary of the same name. The film, partly based on Jon Margolis’s The Last Innocent Year: America in 1964, discusses 1964 as a year that defined American politics and culture for decades to come. 1964 begins with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in November 1963, and discusses the major events of 1964, including the British Invasion, the publication of The Feminine Mystique, Muhammad Ali and Sonny Liston’s boxing match, Freedom Summer and the Civil Rights Movement, and President Lyndon B. Johnson and Barry Goldwater’s contentious presidential election. Interviews took place with activists, historians, authors, and journalists, including Hodding Carter III, a journalist who worked on Lyndon B. Johnson’s presidential campaign; Stephanie Coontz, a historian; Dave Dennis, a Civil Rights activist who planned Freedom Summer with the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE); Robert Lipsyte, a sportswriter; and Phyllis Schlafly, a conservative activist and author of A Choice Not an Echo. Subjects include music and the Beatles, feminism, civil rights, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Barry Goldwater, Muhammad Ali, boxing and sports, the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), and the Harlem Riots.
The 1964 interviews were conducted in 2014 for the American Experience documentary of the same name, directed by Stephen Ives. In 2017, the WGBH Media Library and Archives digitized the 1964 interviews and in 2018 submitted them to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.
Dave Dennis, 1960s Civil Rights Activist
In this clip, Mr. Dennis speaks about the power of Fannie Lou Hamer as a voice for the people.
Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day is an annual holiday observed on the third Monday of January to commemorate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. King was a chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism during the Civil Rights Movement until his assassination in 1968. The campaign for a federal holiday in King’s honor began soon after his death; however, President Ronald Reagan officially signed the holiday into law in 1983, and it was first observed three years later.
As MLK Day aims to celebrate the life and achievements of Dr. King, below is a selection of public radio and television programs that document King’s legacy, including his legendary speeches and influence on society.
Context – The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom featured an estimated 250,000 peaceful demonstrators walking from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial to hear a political call to arms for economic equality and civil rights for African Americans. Credited with being the final impetus to the passing of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the event famously ended with Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic “I Have a Dream” speech – recording below.
Description: Part 17 of 17, this program includes the Educational Radio Network’s (ERN) coverage of the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, including Martin Luther King Jr.’s introduction and speech “I Have a Dream”.
Description: The Long, Hot Summer ’64 series was a weekly news report documenting the civil rights movement during the summer of 1964. This episode describes the arrest of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and 14 others on June 11, 1964, when they attempted to eat at the segregated Monson Motel. Reporters include Dr. Robert Hayling, the head of the movement in St. Augustine and two chaplains from Boston University, Bill England and Eugene Dawson, describe beatings during demonstrations that day and during the previous two evenings.
“After the killing of Dr. King and after the killing of Robert Kennedy many, many people … gave their opinions, and I would like to tell you first that everybody seems to know where violence comes from – they know where the riots come from, where the wars come from, where murder comes from. I’m the only one who doesn’t know, so I’m considered an expert – at least I know one should find it out.” – Dr. Wertham, Discussant
Description: Following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy, Dr. Wertham, a practicing psychiatrist and longtime clinical student of violence, discussed how he cuts through the rhetorical excesses of the time. The television series Firing Line with William F. Buckley Jr. was a venue for debate and discussion on political, social, and philosophical issues with experts of the day.
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is passed — a landmark civil rights and U.S. labor law in the United States that outlaws discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. It prohibits unequal application of voter registration requirements, racial segregation in schools, employment, and public accommodations.
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Dr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolent resistance. Below is a recording of the reception.
Contributing Organization:WYSO (Yellow Springs, Ohio)
Description: In 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr. was President of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and spoke against the Vietnam War. This program was produced by the SCLC as part of their “Martin Luther King Speaks” weekly series. The program is about lobbying efforts against proposed welfare legislation that brought together the National Welfare Rights Organization, the Peoples Coalition for Peace and Justice, and the Southern Christian Leadership. Conference. It includes short excerpts of King speaking at the beginning and end of the program.
Context – Martin Luther King Jr. was shot at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, on April 4, 1968. Following MLK’s assassination, performer James Brown was to play a concert in Boston. In an effort to prevent rioting, the Mayor was advised to ask local station WGBH to broadcast the concert. Below is the beginning address of the historic concert.
Description: Following Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination, James Brown was to play in Boston and is credited with preventing riots by agreeing to broadcast his concert on WGBH. This short excerpt from the 1968 concert features Councilor Tom Atkins and James Brown as they introduce Mayor Kevin White onto the stage at the Boston Garden. White addresses the crowd, urging they respect the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. Brown salutes Mayor White and sings “That’s Life.”
Context – The Civil Rights Act of 1968, also known as the Fair Housing Act, is a landmark part of legislation that provided for equal housing opportunities regardless of race, religion, or national origin. The Act was signed into law during the King assassination riots by President Lyndon B. Johnson, who had previously signed the Civil Rights Act 1964 and Voting Rights Act 1965 into law.
Description: This hour-long interconnected public affairs special emanated live from New York City and Washington, D.C., on Thursday, April 11, 1968 at 9 p.m. EST, the day President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights of 1968. The panel studied the meaning of the newly passed Civil Rights Bill in the aftermath of national mourning for Dr. Martin Luther King. Paul Niven moderated the discussion with James Forman, director of international affairs for the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); Hosea Williams, national director of political education for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; and Floyd McKissick, executive director of the Congress of Racial Equality (Core). In Washington were John Field, director of community relations of the U.S. Conference of Mayors; James J. Kilpatrick, nationally syndicated columnist and former editor of the Richmond, Va. News leader; and Congressman Charles Mathias, Jr. (R-MD).
Description: This episode served as the premiere episode of National Educational Television’s monthly magazine, Black Journal, the first of a series devoted to the interests and concerns of Black America. This segment includes a satire by Godfrey Cambridge, an address by Coretta Scott King, a report on the Poor People’s Campaign, and a study of the African American political reaction to Robert Kennedy’s assassination.
Description: This programcontains a panel discussion covering topics such as the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., his impact upon the Civil Rights movement, South Africa, the Vietnam War and the Black community, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, Affirmative Action programs, the Bakke decision, capitalism, socialism, U.S. police forces, economics in the Black community, President Carter, racism at the University of California, the firing of Dr. Harry Edwards, and the future of struggle in the United States. Yvonne Golden moderates the panel. Panel members in this first hour include JoNina Abron, Gloria Davis, Dr. Harry Edwards, Enola Maxwell, and Joel Mitchell.
Description:Prime Time is a weekly program about Denver Public Schools hosted by Ed Sardella. This episode visited Garden Place Elementary School, Hallett Academy, and Manual High School, where students focused on the life and achievements of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Description: This episode of the series North Star from 1985 focuses on the history of African Americans from the 1860s to the 1960s through the periods of Reconstruction, Segregation and the Civil Rights Movement. It features Dr. Valerian Smith performing excerpts from his musical composition “Tribulations,” a tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr. The host includes Genevieve Stewart, who goes into detail about specific aspects of African American history each episode.
Description: Interview with John Lewis conducted for Eyes on the Prize. Discussion centers on the voting rights movement in Selma, Alabama, his friendship with Martin Luther King, Jr., the relationship between SCLC and SNCC, his view on the philosophy of nonviolence, and his involvement in the March on Washington.
Description: This episode of From the Source features guest Rev. Dr. Michael Haynes, a contemporary and colleague of Martin Luther King, Jr. and former MA state representative. During the interview, Haynes reflected on the newly-implemented Martin Luther King Day holiday and addressed caller questions about how young people could further King’s dream of racial equality. He also discussed the need to keep the pressure on political leaders regarding civil rights, King’s intellectual prowess, King’s sense of the hypocrisy of the institutional Christian Church in America, King’s 1965 address to the MA Legislature, and the religious foundations of King’s belief in the necessity of non-violence to achieve his goals.
Contributing Organization:WYSO (Yellow Springs, Ohio)
Description: This program was produced in 1989 to commemorate Martin Luther King, Jr. for the national holiday in his honor. It featured an excerpt from the commencement speech he gave at Antioch College in Yellow Springs.
Description: This episode of First Friday features highlights from Jackson State University’s 33rd Annual Martin Luther King Birthday Convocation. The goal of the ceremony is to celebrate and remember the contributions Dr. King made for nonviolent social change in America.
Description: During this program, Clayborne Carson, editor of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s papers, considered what would come of King’s legacy. Carson notes that in his time, King was a controversial figure and that King himself would likely be have been surprised on how lauded he is. Carson argued that there would not be a holiday in his honor if not for (a) the actions of Rosa Parks, et al., and (b) that he was assassinated before he could continue to say more provocative and controversial things authorities do not like to hear. Carson noted the meaning of King’s life was contested while he was alive, and will continue to be contested long after his death.
The AAPB is a national effort to preserve at-risk public media and provide a central web portal for access to the programming that public stations and producers have created over the past 70 years. To date, over 90,000 items of television and radio programming contributed by more than 100 public media organizations and archives across the United States have been digitized, and the Archive aims to grow by up to 25,000 additional hours per year. The entire collection is available for research on location at WGBH and the Library, and currently, more than 37,000 programs are available in the AAPB’s Online Reading Room at americanarchive.org to anyone in the United States.
Available Online: 35,000+ Educational Video and Audio Resources and Primary Sources
The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) recently met with K-12 educators, administrators, and teachers-in-training at the annual National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) Conference, a melding of the minds to help advocate and build capacity for high-quality social studies through leadership, services, and support.
As a collaboration between the Library of Congress and WGBH Educational Foundation, the AAPB provides an online archive, open and available to the public, of historic public radio and television programs from across the nation, spanning public broadcasting’s 70+ year history. From local and regional to national productions, the AAPB allows the public to access 36,000 (and growing) programs and original materials, from local news and documentaries to talk shows and raw interviews, and more all available at americanarchive.org!
For easier access and navigation, below is a deeper dive into AAPB’s resources:
The AAPB provides online access to users anywhere in the United States with a wide range of historic public television and radio programs that were submitted for digitization by more than 120 stations and archives from across the country. More than 36,000 programs are available online for research, educational and informational purposes, spanning public broadcasting’s 70+ year history. The entire collection is available for research on location at WGBH and the Library of Congress.
Because of the geographical breadth of the material, students can use the collection to help uncover ways that national historical events played out on the local scene. The long chronological reach from the late 1940s to the present provides researchers with previously inaccessible primary source material to document change over time.
Some notable collections are featured on the Special Collections page with finding aids that include information such as the scope and content of the collection, provenance and background information about its creator and source, recommended search strategies, and related resources. Collections include:
Raw interviews –
1964 (American Experience)
The Abolitionists (American Experience)
Jubilee Singers (American Experience)
Freedom Riders (American Experience)
The Murder of Emmett Till (American Experience)
Reconstruction (American Experience)
Africans in America (WGBH)
American Masters (WNET)
Ken Burn’s The Civil War (American Documentaries, Inc.)
Early educational broadcasting –
National Association of Educational Broadcasters Programs
National Educational Television Collection
Locally and nationally distributed programs and documentaries –
Center for Asian American Media
Georgia Gazette (GPB)
Oklahoma Educational Television Authority (OETA) News and Cultural Programming
Say Brother (WGBH)
Vision Maker Media Documentaries
AAPB staff and guest curators create exhibits of selected programs and recordings that focus on themes, topics, and events of cultural and historical significance. Primary and secondary sources contextualize a diversity of perspectives concerning the exhibit’s focus and as a result, AAPB exhibits often illuminate how public broadcasting stations and producers have covered topics such as the Watergate hearings, climate change, protesting in America, civil rights, and more!
Contact Ryn Marchese, AAPB’s Engagement and Use Manager, to inquire about bringing these materials into your classroom: email@example.com!
And feel free to share our resource with your local school, public and academic librarians! We’ve created a AAPB Library Communications Kit with details on how to describe the AAPB on website/resource guides and embed our player and harvest metadata from our catalog. We’ve also included a link to our webinar with the Boston Library Consortium on the “Accessibility of AAPB in Academic Libraries,” most of which will be applicable to the public librarian community.
For information about the AAPB that you can print for your classroom, email to fellow teachers, or post about online, feel free to use our Informational Flyer!
Most recommended content during NCSS?
Based on our conversations with teachers, below are a few programs we most recommended during the conference!
PBS NewsHour Special Collection – The PBS NewsHour Collection includes more than 8,000 episodes of PBS NewsHour’s predecessor programs from October 1975 to December 2007 covering local and national conversations.
Field Trip Series from Main Public Broadcasting – Field Trip is a series of short educational documentaries that explore Maine’s history, culture, and agriculture from fish hatcheries to how low/high tides work — there’s so much to explore!
Local Content – Search our participating stations for local content!
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The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) is a collaboration between the Library of Congress and WGBH Educational Foundation in Boston that preserves and makes accessible significant public radio and television programs before they are lost to posterity. The AAPB collection includes more than 50,000 recorded hours comprising over 90,000 digitized and born-digital programs, and original materials dating back to the late 1940s, and is growing!
Written by Ryn Marchese, AAPB Engagement and Use Manager
Happy International Archives Day! The American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) is celebrating by launching five NEW Special Collections that feature raw interviews from American Experience’s Freedom Riders, The Murder of Emmett Till, John Brown’s Holy War, and Jubilee Singers, as well as WGBH’s Peabody award-winning documentary Africans in America!
The AAPB, a collaboration between the Library of Congress and Boston public media station WGBH, has digitized and preserved more than 50,000 hours of broadcasts and previously inaccessible programs from public media’s more than 70-year legacy.
The AAPB invites you to spend the day (and everyday) exploring the collections at americanarchive.org. Let us know what you discover by tagging us at @amarchivepub!
The Freedom Riders Interview Collection contains 124 raw interviews from the American Experience documentary of the same name. The film documents the six-month period from May to November 1961, when white and black activists rode together on buses across the American South to protest the continued segregation of public buses and transportation facilities. Risking attack from white mobs and arrest by local police, the documentary chronicles the reality of the Freedom Riders’ experiences and success at calling attention to southern indifference to federal law and demanding enforcement of integrated interstate bus travel. The Freedom Riders interviews were conducted with activists and journalists who took part in the Freedom Rides, including John Lewis, a key player in the Civil Rights Movement and a member of the House of Representatives; Diane Nash, a coordinator for Freedom Riders in Nashville; Moses Newson, a journalist who covered the first Freedom Ride; John Seigenthaler, a Special Assistant to Robert F. Kennedy; and Genevieve Hughes Houghton, Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) field secretary on their Freedom Ride. Subjects discussed include the Supreme Court, the American South, Jim Crow, the Ku Klux Klan, violence, racism, segregation, CORE, and the Civil Rights Movement.
The Murder of Emmett Till Interviews Collection is made up of 40 raw interviews from the award-winning 2003 American Experience documentary, The Murder of Emmett Till. The film, which chronicles the story of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old who was murdered in 1955 after being accused of whistling at a white woman, follows Till’s life and transformation into an icon of the Civil Rights Movement. The Murder of Emmett Till interviews paint a picture of the Jim Crow South, the Mississippi community in which the murder took place, and contain intimate recollections by those who knew Emmett Till. Guests include family and friends of Emmett Till, including Mamie Till Mobley, Emmett Till’s mother and Civil Rights activist; and Wheeler Parker, Emmett Till’s cousin; as well as journalists, politicians, and witnesses, like Ernest Withers, a photographer known for his photos of the segregated South; Willie Reed, a witness who testified against Emmett Till’s murderers; and David Jordan, a Senator from Mississippi. Topics include segregation, Jim Crow, lynching and violence, the American judicial system, journalism, the American South, and the Civil Rights Movement.
The John Brown’s Holy War Interview Collection is comprised of 41 raw interviews conducted in 2000 for the American Experience film of the same name. The interviews examined the enigmatic life, history, myth, and legacy of abolitionist John Brown, one of the most controversial figures in American history. John Brown’s Holy War outlines John Brown’s life, role in the abolition movement, unsuccessful raid on the Harpers Ferry federal armory, death, and subsequent entry into American lore as both villain and martyr during the American Civil War. Interviews were conducted with historians, authors, and educators, including James Horton, Professor of American Studies and History at George Washington University; Paul Finkelman, historian of American law; Margaret Washington, historian and Professor of History at Cornell University; and Russell Banks, novelist. Interviews feature a range of topics, including abolition, philosophy, enslavement, race, Christianity, economics, mental health, journalism, the Dred Scott Decision, Frederick Douglass, Pre-Civil War American politics, the Harpers Ferry attack, and the American Civil War.
The Jubilee Singers Interviews Collection includes 19 raw interviews conducted in 2000 for the American Experience documentary Jubilee Singers: Sacrifice and Glory. The film focused on the early years of the Fisk Jubilee Singers, an ensemble of students from Fisk University in Tennessee who created the a cappella group in 1871 in an effort to raise funds for the financially-struggling school. The original Fisk Jubilee Singers, largely made up of former slaves, toured around the United States, and, later, Europe, and were known for their performances of spirituals, which they are partially credited with preserving and introducing to a wider audience. Interviews were conducted with musicologists and historians, including John Hope Franklin, historian and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom; Toni Anderson, Music Historian; Horace Clarence Boyer, musicologist and noted scholar of African-American gospel music; and Reavis L. Mitchell, Professor of History at Fisk University. Topics include spirituals and music, slavery, racism, religion, segregation, the American Civil War, and higher education, particularly historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), and Fisk University.
The Africans in America Interviews Collection is made up of 53 raw interviews from the award-winning, four-part documentary of the same name, which aired on PBS in 1998. The documentary, the first to fully examine the history of slavery in the United States, focused on the experiences of African people and their transformation of America, beginning with 16th-century enslavement on Africa’s Gold Coast and ending on the eve of the American Civil War in 1861. The interviews offer an in-depth examination of the social, economic, and intellectual foundations of slavery and the ways in which African people changed the United States. Guests include descendants of slaves and slave-owners, authors, professors, historians, and statesmen, including Colin Powell, retired four-star general and the first African American on the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Karen Hughes White, a descendant of Thomas Jefferson and founder of the Afro-American Historical Association of Fauquier County; Catherine Acholonu, a Nigerian author and Associate Professor of English Literature, Awuku College of Education; and Jeffrey Leath, Pastor of Mother Bethel A.M.E. Church, Philadelphia. Topics covered include Christianity and English Protestantism, George Washington, Toussaint Louverture, the American Revolution, Nat Turner’s Rebellion, gender conventions, racism, violence, economics, family, and enslavement.
Special thanks to Lynn Mason of the WGBH Media Library and Archives’ Stock Sales and Licensing team for her work in digitizing the collections and Miranda Villesvik for ingesting the collections into AAPB.
The long history of Americans exercising their right to speak, assemble and petition is brought to life in a vibrant new online exhibition from the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB). “Speaking and Protesting in America” explores the role of dissent in American life, ranging from peaceful marches to acts of civil disobedience. This digital look into how Americans have demanded the attention of governing powers brings each movement to life through the rich collection of audio and visual materials preserved and digitized by AAPB, a collaboration between Boston-based public broadcaster WGBH and the Library of Congress.
The exhibit, curated by AAPB Digital Exhibits Intern Michelle Janowiecki, includes a diverse range of public radio and television content from 1956 – 2009, pulling from more than 40 historic radio call-in shows, local news, raw footage, and interviews that document the profound impact of the First Amendment on American life.
On Saturday, January 21, in conjunction with the exhibit’s launch, AAPB and PBS’ flagship history documentary series American Experienceheld a Facebook live event to discuss how protests throughout American history have been documented and preserved. AAPB Project Manager Casey E. Davis Kaufman, exhibit curator Michelle Janowiecki, American Experience Historian in Residence Gene Tempest, and American Experience Managing Editor for Digital Content Lauren Prestileo participated in the “Documenting Protest” panel discussion, which was held at the WGBH Studio at the Boston Public Library. The recording of the event is available online at https://www.facebook.com/AmericanExperiencePBS/videos/10154919655949122/.
Listen to a sample recording from the exhibit, courtesy of WYSO-FM:
On March 8, 1973, women met at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio to hold a rally celebrating International Women’s Day. This rally was part of an annual worldwide celebration to recognize the achievements of women and to call for the end of sexism in the work force. Listen to the full recording online: http://to.wgbh.org/61838Ryuz.