New AAPB Special Collection of Raw Interviews from American Experience’s ‘The Abolitionists’

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

AX0003_Abolitionists.jpgCollection Summary

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.

Access the collection at http://americanarchive.org/special_collections/the-abolitionists-interviews!

Collection Background

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.

Featured Interviews

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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.

AAPB Launches New Special Collection: 1964 Interviews Collection from American Experience

ax0008_1964It 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.

Collection Summary

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.

Collection Background

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.

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Example Interviews

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.

 

Direct Link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-k35m90338c

Leah Wright Rigueur, Historian

In this clip, Ms. Rigueur gives perspective on the social climate of 1964.

 

Direct Link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-rv0cv4cx1j

 

Phyllis Schlafly, Conservative Leader 1964

In this clip, Ms. Schlafly talks about her canvassing efforts for Barry Goldwater, Republican Party nominee for President of the United States in 1964.

 

Direct Link: http://americanarchive.org/catalog/cpb-aacip_15-086348h98h


Like this content? Explore more interveiw collections at http://americanarchive.org/special_collections.

 

 

Five New Special Collections Now Available in the American Archive of Public Broadcasting!

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!

Now available online, you can access these collections at http://americanarchive.org/special_collections or in person at the Library of Congress and at WGBH, preserved for future generations to learn about our nation’s history.

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!

New Special Collections Summaries

Freedom Ridershttp://americanarchive.org/special_collections/freedom-riders-interviews

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 4.11.39 PMThe 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 – http://americanarchive.org/special_collections/the-murder-of-emmett-till-interviews

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 4.11.29 PMThe 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.

John Brown’s Holy Warhttp://americanarchive.org/special_collections/john-brown-holy-war-interviews

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 4.11.15 PMThe 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.

Jubilee Singers Interviewshttp://americanarchive.org/special_collections/jubilee-singers-interviews

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 4.11.24 PMThe 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.

Africans in Americahttp://americanarchive.org/special_collections/africans-in-america-interviews

Screen Shot 2018-06-08 at 4.11.35 PMThe 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.