Chicago Public Library Shares African American History With Digital Archive

CHICAGO (CBS) – Just in time for Black History Month, from well known to the unsung, the stories of African American ‘History Makers’ from Chicago and across America are now available to the world.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker shares how you can witness history from those who made it.

One by one they stood, history makers whose stories are now part of a digital archive available to the world.

98-year-old Timuel Black is a nationally recognized historian and leader in Chicago’s civil rights movement.

“To have my story in an archive that is worldwide, not just national is beyond belief that I would have thought a few years ago,” Black said.

2,800 people were interviewed over the past 17 years, providing 9,000 hours of oral history.

Some you will recognize, while others their connections may be more familiar than their faces.

Barbara Bowman, an American early childhood education expert/advocate, professor and daughter of Robert Taylor, the first African American Commissioner for the CHA; her daughter, Valerie Jarret, President Obama’s chief of staff. The famous are well represented, but so too, are the trail blazers.

Peggy Montes is the founder of the country’s only African American children’s museum.

All of this made possible by Juliana Richardson, founder of the ‘History Makers.’

“This is special because all these interviews, about 100 have passed away,” Richardson said. “Those stories would have died with them, but they’re here. For it to be accessible, free of charge to any patron, that’s fantastic.”

The ‘History Makers’ archives are free to the public, all one has to do is become a member of the Chicago Public Library. Those interested can visit in person or access all the videos from a computer or phone.

CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker is among the thousands represented in the archives.

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