Rutgers Oral History Archives

Item

Resource class
Collection
Collection Title
Rutgers Oral History Archives
Repository
Rutgers Oral History Archives (ROHA) at Rutgers University–New Brunswick
Description
Based at Rutgers University–New Brunswick, the Rutgers Oral History Archives (ROHA) has recorded numerous interviews with Black participants, primarily Rutgers alumni and faculty. The collection also includes several interviews with Black New Jerseyans who are not affiliated with Rutgers University. Many of the interviews highlight the military experiences of Black veterans. ROHA interviews usually trace the full course of the person’s life, detailing their family history and experiences beginning with childhood memories.

Established in 1994, ROHA grew out of a project that originally focused on World War II memories. Since then, ROHA has expanded to include life-course interviews on many themes related to Rutgers and New Jersey social and cultural history. ROHA frequently partners with Rutgers faculty to conduct and preserve oral history projects around specific research topics, such as urban redevelopment in New Brunswick and Black activism in Camden. ROHA's digital collection includes over 1,275 oral history interviews with full-text searchable transcripts; the audio recordings are not published. Select video interviews recorded as part of the City of New Brunswick Redevelopment Oral Histories Project have been published digitally.

From ROHA’s establishment in 1994 until 2014, it appears that only approximately 1% of the interviewees were African American. A greater effort to record interviews with Black participants resulted from the 2015 Black on the Banks conference that brought together African American alumni of the 1960s generation. In five years since the conference, ROHA doubled the number of Black voices in the collection. The effort to record interviews with African American alumni, faculty, and staff is ongoing.

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