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African American Family History Research: Oral Histories & Film

Oral Histories

Minnesota Black History Project Oral History Interviews 
32 interviews with Black men and women, who discuss family, politics, social and cultural activities, and various Black communities in Minnesota.
(41 cassettes, plus transcripts)
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid 

Our Gathering Places Oral History Project 
Most interviews were conducted to obtain background material for an exhibit at the Minnesota History Center about the African-American community in Minnesota. Others were done to prepare curriculum materials for fourth graders. The interviews focus on neighborhood activities, barbershops and beauty shops. Several musicians are also included.
(29 cassettes, plus transcripts)
MNHS call number: OH 100 and Digital Finding Aid

Rondo Oral History Project
Collection of interviews, created by Hand in Hand Productions, capturing the lives and experiences of long time residents of St. Paul’s Rondo community, an urban neighborhood near the downtown. A mixed neighborhood with respect to ethnicity and income, it has been home to a significant African American population since the early 1900s and was a particularly vibrant community in the 1930s. The neighborhood was devastated by the construction of Highway 94 through it in the 1960s. Many of its African American inhabitants, businesses, churches, fraternal orders, and social clubs were displaced and faced discrimination in housing and other areas. Most of the transcripts include a 1950s map of the neighborhood and photographs of the interviewees.
(33 cassettes, plus transcripts)
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid 

Somali Skyline Tower Oral History Project Interviews  (4.25 hour sound disc and 85 pages transcript)
The interviews come from the Somali Skyline Tower Oral History Project, a 2-year collaboration between the Minnesota Historical Society and Commonbound Communities, funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services in Washington, D.C. In 2004, 15 young Somali women from St. Paul public schools joined together to create two films about what it is like to be Somali in Minnesota. These interviews are among those conducted for the project.  
(4.25 hour sound disc and 85 pages transcript)
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid

Lake Adney Oral History Project
Seven interviews with men and women whose family stories at Lake Adney date back to the 1940s and continue into the present. Topics discussed include community life on the lake, purchasing property, building and renovating cabins, outdoor recreation, intergenerational experiences at the lake, race in northern Minnesota, reflections on cabin culture, as well as family and personal backgrounds.
MNHS call number: Digital Finding Aid


Two Homes, Two Cultures, Two Languages, One Dream: What’s with the Hijab?
[Saint Paul, Minn.] : Somali Skyline Tower History Project ; Minnesota Historical Society, c2004.
(1 videodisc, 53 min.)
Created by 15 young Somali women from St. Paul Public Schools, this film covers a range of topics including Somalia and the civil war, cultural identity, and adjusting to life in America. The film ends with a message of peace for the future of Somalia.
MNHS call number: DVD 4

Committees of One: The Black Experience in Minnesota
Minnesota Black Documentary Film Committee.  
Minneapolis, Minn.: General Mills, c1981.
(1 film reel, 30 min. + 1 study guide.)
MNHS call number: Use Copy C-60

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