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Posted 03/16/2012

Jamila Jones describes joining the movement as a young girl in Montgomery, Alabama.

All this March, the Southern Oral History Program’s Seth Kotch will be bringing oral histories to WUNC’s Morning Edition. Seth supervised a year-long project that netted 50 civil rights-related interviews from leaders, grassroots activists, and other participants in the movement.

The Civil Rights Oral History Project was mandated by an Act of Congress in 2009, which directed the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) to take steps toward documenting civil rights history. The project began with a nationwide survey of existing oral history collections conducted by the American Folklife Center (AFC) in the Library of Congress. When it came time for the next phase of the project–a major civil rights interviewing project–the NMAAHC looked to the Southern Oral History Program.

Lead Interviewer Joe Mosnier, a former Associate Director of the SOHP, conducted 49 of the 50 interviews, which will be available online through the AFC this fall and will become part of the collection at the NMAAHC, which is slated to open in 2015.