Chicago Public Library To Receive African American History Digital Archive This Summer

CHICAGO (CBS) — The History Makers, the Nation’s largest African American video oral history archive, is making its collection available on-line through the Chicago Public Library starting this summer.

The History Makers series has more than 9,000 hours of interviews with influential African Americans housed at the Library of Congress – 500 of them are from Chicago. WBBM’s Mike Krauser reports.

The founder of the History Makers series, Juliana Richardson sees the archive as a source of pride for young people who would benefit from knowing the stories of influential African Americans. She believes it can play a role in turning young people away from violence.

“No one seems to be able to solve it, but at the same time I think our archives provide a playbook for Chicago,” Richardson said. “Not perfect, there was never a perfect Chicago, nut the black community there was a more vibrant black community that existed.”

Richardson said young people need to know the rich history, that she said, is becoming more of a faint memory.

“Every time I see some young kids, I know that have they been able to be exposed to archives and have they been able to see other people’s stories of success? They are dying at these great numbers here in this city,” she said.

History Makers is taping a show on Saturday night to air on PBS, with a number of influential Chicagoans, including Valerie Jarret, Deval Patrick, Linda Johnson Rice, and a number of others sharing Chicago’s stories.

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