(CBS) – It’s a huge archive of interviews with Africans Americans. It’s so important that it can now be seen at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C.
In honor of Black History Month, CBS 2’s Rob Johnson goes behind the scenes of “HistoryMakers.”
It it has been a labor of love for Julieanna Richardson for fifteen years now.
The archive she has compiled includes 9,000 hours of content – 2,700 interviews with African Americans in 39 states. Some you know, like the late Ernie Banks.
“He was one of 12 children, he was one of the few who made it out, some had tragic deaths,” Richardson says.
Why would a Harvard-educated lawyer and TV producer embark upon such a project that’s housed in an office building in the South Loop?
“American society needs to still acknowledge all the parts that have made it the melting pot that it is. That’s what my life has been dedicated to,” Richardson says.
Things were not always easy for Richardson, who sometimes toiled in obscurity. That ended last summer when the largest library in the world, the Library of Congress, came calling. It wanted all that History Makers had to offer.
That includes an interview with Barack Obama before he became U.S. president.
HistoryMakers is working hard to archive the remaining interviews and add them to their expanding digital archive. Her interview goal eventually will be 5,000 people.