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Untold Tales, Unsung Heroes Oral Histories

 Collection
Identifier: UOH001605
Collection consists of draft and final transcripts of 83 oral history interviews with primarily African American Detroiters, interviewed either individually or in groups. Interviewees discuss family and community life, neighborhoods (including Black Bottom and Paradise Valley), religion, education, and work, as well as significant events like the Great Depression, World War II, the 1943 race riot, the Civil Rights Movement, the civil unrest of 1967, and the Vietnam War. Each group discussion focuses on a significant topic, place, or event. Some interviewees participated in multiple group interviews. Also included is a small amount of related images, clippings, and notes. Most draft transcripts contain background clippings as well. Final transcripts have generally been edited significantly for length and content and are similar to what was published in the book.

Dates

  • 1990 - 1994

Creator

Language of Materials

Material entirely in English.

Access

The following interviews are closed: Robert Cunningham (closed indefinitely); Roy Wilds (closed until October 11, 2041); Sojourner Truth Homes group interview, at the request of interviewee Adam Shakoor (prior permission to access must be obtained from Adam Shakoor).

The following interviews are available as final transcripts only; access to draft transcripts is closed: Nancy Allen, Frank Angelo, Kermit Bailer, M. Kelly Fritz, Wendell Harrison, Erma Henderson, William Hines, Annie Williams, Music II, and the Crime and Law Enforcement group interview, at the request of interviewee Mackie Johnson.

Use

Refer to the Walter P. Reuther Library Rules for Use of Archival Materials.

RESTRICTIONS: Due to the personal nature of oral history, the Library prohibits use of the material in any way that infringes on individual right to privacy, or results in libelous statements or slander, in accordance with U.S. law.

The following interviews are restricted from publication: Ed Davis, Herschel Richey, and the Herschel Richey portions of the Virginia Park Community group interview.

The following interviews require that permission to publish be obtained from the interviewee: Gloria Manlove Hunter, James Jenkins.

Extent

3 Linear Feet ((6 MB).) : Consists of 132 printed transcripts plus news clippings.

Abstract

In 1989, the Detroit Urban League initiated a project to create an oral history of Detroit’s African American community, underrepresented in traditional histories of the city, focusing on the period of 1918 through 1967, from near the time of the League’s founding to the civil unrest of 1967. Elaine Latzman Moon, then on staff at the Detroit Urban League, led the project and interviewed more than 200 participants from all walks of life, ages, and social and economic status, including many prominent citizens as well as those leading more modest lives. The four-year project culminated in 1994 with Latzman’s book, Untold Tales, Unsung Heroes: An Oral History of Detroit’s African American Community, 1918-1967, featuring interviews with 113 participants, most of them African American, along with a few white people noted in the African American community for their efforts to further civil rights and human rights. The collection consists of draft and final transcripts of 83 oral history interviews with primarily African American Detroiters, interviewed either individually or in groups. Interviewees discuss family and community life, neighborhoods (including Black Bottom and Paradise Valley), religion, education, and work, as well as significant events like the Great Depression, World War II, the 1943 race riot, the Civil Rights Movement, the civil unrest of 1967, and the Vietnam War. Each group discussion focuses on a significant topic, place, or event. Some interviewees participated in multiple group interviews. Also included is a small amount of related images, clippings, and notes. Most draft transcripts contain background clippings as well. Final transcripts have generally been edited significantly for length and content and are similar to what was published in the book.

History

In 1989, the Detroit Urban League initiated a project to create an oral history of Detroit’s African American community, underrepresented in traditional histories of the city, focusing on the period of 1918 through 1967, from near the time of the League’s founding to the civil unrest of 1967. Elaine Latzman Moon, then on staff at the Detroit Urban League, led the project and interviewed more than 200 participants from all walks of life, ages, and social and economic status, including many prominent citizens as well as those leading more modest lives. The four-year project culminated in 1994 with Latzman’s book, Untold Tales, Unsung Heroes: An Oral History of Detroit’s African American Community, 1918-1967, featuring interviews with 113 participants, most of them African American, along with a few white people noted in the African American community for their efforts to further civil rights and human rights.

Arrangement

Transcripts are arranged in alphabetical order combining both individual and group interviews (Boxes 1-5); Background information and newspaper clippings (Box 5); and Closed materials in alphabetical order (Box 6).

Custodial History

Original names for the collection and/or project include "Detroit Urban League Oral History Project," "Untold Tales, Unsung Heroes Oral History Project," and "Elaine Latzman Moon Papers."

Acquisition

Donated by Elaine Latzman Moon in 1994.

Processing History

Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library and Rebecca Bizonet. Finding aid written by Rebecca Bizonet on June 9, 2016. Folders reprocessed by Ciera Casteel on February 27, 2019.

Creator

Title
Guide to the Untold Tales, Unsung Heroes Oral Histories
Status
completed
Author
Processed by Walter P. Reuther Library and Rebecca Bizonet. Finding aid written by Rebecca Bizonet.
Date
2016-06-09
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English
Sponsor
Description made possible by funding from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Revision Statements

  • 2019-03-01: Inventory created by Ciera Casteel

Repository Details

Part of the Walter P. Reuther Library Repository

Contact:
5401 Cass Avenue
Detroit MI 48202 USA