About the Project

Established in early 2017, the William & Mary Oral History Program collects and archives the stories of William & Mary alumni, faculty, and staff. These narratives cover the trials, the triumphs, the traditions, and the transformations of members of the William & Mary community, and contribute to a more complete understanding of the lived experience on campus.

As part of the celebration and commemoration of two major milestones during 2017-2019—50 Years of African Americans in Residence and 100 Years of Coeducation—the Oral Historian, alongside Special Collections and the anniversary committees, initiated two oral history projects to capture the narratives of individuals whose stories have traditionally been marginalized, or at the very least, have rarely been prioritized in historical record:

The 50th Anniversary of African Americans in Residence Project highlights and celebrates the first African-American residential students--Karen Ely, Lynn Briley, and Janet Brown--and all of the individuals who preceded them and have followed them. More broadly, this project chronicles the lived experience of African Americans on William and Mary's campus since 1951.

The interviews collected through the Oral History Program become a part of the University Archives in the Special Collections Research Center at Swem Library. They will be made available to access and utilize for research through the archive, the digital archive, and the oral history webpage. The interviews will also be featured on the webpages for the anniversary celebrations, in physical and digital exhibits, and in various other media.