Mobile menu icon Close mobile navigation icon

Higher Education

The HistoryMakers Digital Archive provides a deep research and teaching resource for college curricula in a variety of disciplines, particularly in its applicability to the study of Black intellectual history (including ongoing research on the current state of Black Studies through case studies), and the interdisciplinary study of the African American Experience.

The autobiographical sketches in the Digital Archive demonstrate the profound achievements of African Americans across virtually all fields and aspects of American life, including science, the arts and entertainment, politics, literature, the military, and the academy. As a digital video database currently containing over 2,600 interviews (nearly 10,000 hours of interview footage), The HistoryMakers Digital Archive is the largest primary resource documenting the impact of African Americans on American history and culture in the 20th and 21st centuries.

The HistoryMakers Digital Archive also offers a more varied scope and comprehensive coverage than other African American biographical collections. Because the oral history interviews in the Digital Archive highlight the accomplishments of African Americans from a wide range of backgrounds and professions, it provides a unique resource for exploring African American life and culture and the broad range of African American contributions and responses to the historical events of the 20th and 21st centuries. Moreover, the African American experience documented in the Digital Archive provides insight on the attitudes, beliefs, and structures of American society overall.


Faculty Innovations in Pedagogy & Teaching Fellowship

Now in its fourth year, The HistoryMakers Innovations in Pedagogy and Teaching Fellowship is designed to foster classroom innovation and teaching and to diversify curricula while furthering student learning and research skills during the upcoming academic year. Award recipients will receive a $7,500 award and the opportunity to demonstrate how faculty can creatively incorporate The HistoryMakers Digital Archive into a fall 2023 semester course and syllabus.

For the 2023-2024 program, we awarded fellowships to twelve outstanding teacher-scholars. Applications for the 2024-2025 program will open in early 2024.

Student Ambassador Program

Student Ambassadors serve as official representatives for The HistoryMakers Digital Archive and work to increase awareness, knowledge, and use of The HistoryMakers Digital Archive on their respective campuses. If chosen to serve as ambassadors through a competitive application and selection process, they work individually and in teams learning how to use The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. They are also responsible for promoting use of the digital archive to faculty, students, administrators and library staff using blogs and newsletters, presentations, outreach and traditional and social media. To apply, the student ambassador’s college or university must be an Institutional Member of The HistoryMakers Digital Archive. A list of Institutional College/University Members can be found here:


We work with educators around the country to create unique and in-depth programs for a variety of educational levels and grades. See the lesson plans below to learn about programs you can bring into your classroom, or log in to the Digital Archives educational tools. Learn about how others are using The HistoryMakers content and submit your own work too.


Classics | Joel Christensen/Zachary Elliott


Joel Christensen, associate professor of Classical Studies at Brandeis University, was part of a cohort of three professors who received special faculty fellowship funding from Brandeis Provost Lisa Lynch to integrate The HistoryMakers Digital …

Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham
Law | Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham


Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, the Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and of African and African American Studies at Harvard University, actively utilizes The HistoryMakers Digital Archive in her seminar course “African American Lives and the Law.” Higginbotham folded The HistoryMakers Digital… Archive into her course as a means of introducing personal stories and

Karen V. Hansen
Sociology | Karen V. Hansen


Karen Hansen, professor of sociology and women’s, gender and sexuality Studies and director of the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University, was part of a cohort of three professors who received special faculty fellowship funding from Brandeis Provost Lisa Lynch to integrate The… HistoryMakers Digital Archive into an existing course. Hansen has now folded the resource into two graduate level sociology courses – “Gender, Class, and Race”

Michael D. Hill
English | Michael D. Hill


Michael D. Hill, an associate professor of English and African American studies at the University of Iowa, pulled The HistoryMakers Digital Archive into a course assignment requiring his students to examine how author Toni Morrison looks at how family… expectations impact individual identity. Hill directed his students to reference The HistoryMakers in a written essay, but also

Lynda Kachurek
Library Science | Lynda Kachurek


Lynda Kachurek, Head of Rare Books and Special Collections at Boatwright Memorial Library at the University of Richmond, wanted to engage students in her Management of Historical Collections class, who themselves are future curators and …

Marya R. Levenson
History | Marya R. Levenson


Marya Levenson, the Harry S. Levitan Director of Teacher Education and professor of the practice of education at Brandeis University, was part of a cohort of three professors who received special faculty fellowship funding from Brandeis Provost…

Liesl Orenic
History | Liesl Orenic


Liesl Orenic, professor of history and department chair at Dominican University, crafted “HistoryMakers in Context” for her course “African American History Since 1877.” Orenic’s students were tasked with identifying three interviews in…

Linda Stoller
Classics | Joel Christensen/Zachary Elliott


Linda Stoller, Senior Lecturer at the International Business School at Brandeis University, utilized the archive in the context of her undergraduate Real Estate and Society course. Her students were studying affordable housing conceptually as well…

Higher Education Advisory Board

Created under the auspices of a 2016 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The HistoryMakers Higher Education Advisory Board consists of academic administrators, scholars, faculty, librarians, archivists, and digital humanities experts. The goal of this Advisory Board is to forge a relationship between The HistoryMakers and the higher education community, as well as to increase awareness and usage of The HistoryMakers archive and The HistoryMakers Digital Archive in academia. This includes uses both inside and outside the classroom, distance learning and online education, public programming, MOOCs (Massive Open Online Course), course management systems, digital humanities projects, exhibitions, research projects and other scholarly pursuits. 

The work of this advisory board focuses on building a sustainable presence for The HistoryMakers in college and university research and teaching, and will develop a community of engaged academic users. Representatives from each of The HistoryMakers’ 50+ college and university partners make up the advisory board, and to date, three in-person meetings have been held – April 2016, February 2017, and February 2018 – with a fourth meeting upcoming. The HistoryMakers Higher Education Advisory Board is organized into three subcommittees:

Members of The HistoryMakers Teaching & Learning Committee represent faculty and administrators from a broad range of subject areas and disciplines. Ranging from academic deans to professional organization administrators and doctoral fellows, the Teaching & Learning Committee seeks to frame The HistoryMakers interaction with scholars and its engagement with trends and concerns in the scholarly arena.

Projects of the Teaching & Learning Committee have included the integration of The HistoryMakers Digital Archive into courses at Harvard University, Brandeis University, and the University of Richmond on African American experiences with the law, Sociology, and classical theatre, respectively. 

American Historical Association

  James Grossman; Executive Director

American University             

  Mary Ellen Curtin; Associate Professor; Critical Race, Gender and Culture Studies Collaborative

Arkansas State University   

  Cherisse Jones-Branch; James and Wanda Lee Vaughn Endowed Professor of History, Director, A-STATE Digital Press

Boston University  

  Walter Fluker; Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of Ethical Leadership

  Saida Grundy; Assistant Professor of Sociology and African American Studies

  Susan Mizruchi; Professor of the Humanities; Director, Boston University Center for Humanities

Brandeis University               

  Joel Christensen; Professor of Classics

  Karen Hansen; Director, Women's Studies Research Center, Professor of Sociology & Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies

  Anita Hill; University Professor of Social Policy, Law, and Women's, Gender and Sexuality Studies

  Wangui Mugai; Florence Levy Kay Fellow in Race, Science and Society

Carleton College     

  Charisse Burden-Stelly; Assistant Professor; Africana Studies and Political Science

Carnegie Mellon University              

  Shawn Alfonso-Wells; Adjunct Professor of History

  M. Stephanie Murray; Director & Academic Advisor, Assistant Teaching Professor, BXA Intercollege Degree Programs

  Avigail Oren; Adjunct Professor, History

  Richard Scheines; Dean, Professor of Philosophy

  Steven Schlossman; Professor of History; Director of Undergraduate Studies

Case Western Reserve University  

  Joy R. Bostic; Associate Professor; Founding Director, African and African American Studies Program

Chicago State University     

  Lionel Kimble; Associate Professor of History

College of William & Mary

  Jody Allen; Assistant Professor; History

  Adrienne Petty; Associate Professor; History

  Steve Prince; Director of Engagement, Distinguished Artist In Residence; Muscarelle Museum of Art

Cornell University  

  Lynn Perry Wooten; David J. Nolan Dean, Dyson School; Professor, Management and Organizations

Dominican University           

  Douglas Keberlein-Gutierrez; Associate Professor; History

  Chavella Pittman; Associate Professor of Sociology

Duke University      

  Mark Anthony Neal; James B. Duke Professor of African and African American Studies; Chair

Emory University    

  Michelle Gordon; Senior Lecturer in the Department of African American Studies

  Dwight McBride; Provost

Harvard University

  Jarvis Givens; Assistant Professor, Education; Suzanne Young Murray Assistant Professor

  Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham; Victor S. Thomas Professor of History and of African and African American Studies; Chair

  Khalil Muhammad; Professor of History, Race, and Public Policy, HKS; Suzanne Young Murray Professor, Radcliffe

Howard University

  Greg Carr; Associate Professor and Chair | Department of Afro-American Studies 

  Roger Caruth; Lecturer, School of Communications

  Lorenzo Morris; Professor, Department of Political Science

  Catherine Quinlan; Assistant Professor, Science Education

Johns Hopkins University   

  Kali-Ahset Amen; Associate Director; Assistant Research Professor

Johnson C. Smith University              

  Marsha Rhee; Associate Professor; English

Lesley University    

  Tatiana Cruz; Assistant Professor; American History

  Kazuyo Kubo; Associate Professor; Sociology

Morgan State University     

  Denise Davison; Assistant Professor; Social Work

  Melissa Littlefield; Associate Professor, Social Work; Chair

New York University             

  Pamela Newkirk; Professor, Journalism

  David Levering Lewis; Professor Emeritus

Northeastern University     

  Victoria Cain; Assistant Professor; History

Northwestern University    

  Ava Thompson Greenwell; Professor, Journalism

  Jonathan Holloway; Provost

Ohio State University           

  Jackie Blount; Professor; Educational Studies

  Linda James Myers; Professor, African American and African Studies

  R. Joseph Parrott; Assistant Professor, History

Princeton University             

  Kinohi Nishikawa; Assistant Professor; English

Rice University        

  Marcia Walker-McWilliams; Associate Director, Programs for the Center for Civic Leadership

Rutgers University 

  Tim Eatman; Associate Professor, Urban Education; Dean, Honors Living-Learning Community

Savannah State University 

  Kisha Cunningham; Assistant Professor, School Of Teacher Education

  Anthony Di Lorenzo; Assistant Professor; History

Simmons University              

  Brian Norman; Professor, English; Dean, Gwen Ifill College of Media, Arts, and Humanities

  Jessica Parr; Adjunct Professor of History

  Janie Ward; Professor and Department Chair, Africana Studies

Smith College          

  Paula Giddings; Elizabeth A. Woodson Professor Emerita of Africana Studies

Southeast Missouri State University             

  Joel P. Rhodes; Professor; History

Stanford University               

  Shelley Fisher Fishkin; Joseph S. Atha Professor of the Humanities and Professor of English

Texas Southern University 

  Tomiko Meeks; Professor; History

  Brittany Slatton; Professor of Sociology

United States Air Force Academy    

  Lt. Col. John Roche; Director of Academics, History

University of Alaska-Anchorage      

  Ian Hartman; Associate Professor; History

University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff               

  Kevin Butler; Associate Professor of History

  John D. Foster; Associate Professor; Sociology

University of Illinois, Chicago           

  Jane Rhodes; Department Head, Professor of African American Studies

University of Iowa 

  Sarah Bond; Assistant Professor of Classics

University of Massachusetts Boston              

  Layla Brown-Vincent; Assistant Professor; Africana Studies

  Tony Van Der Meer; Senior Lecturer; Africana Studies

University of Massachusetts, Amherst         

  Traci Parker; Assistant Professor; Afro-American Studies

University of Michigan        

  Joel Howell; Victor C. Vaughan Professor of the History of Medicine

  Earl Lewis; Professor, Director, Center for Social Solutions

University of Pennsylvania

  Marybeth Gasman; Judy & Howard Berkowitz Professor of Education

University of Richmond       

  Patrice Rankine; Professor, Classics; Dean, School of Arts & Sciences

University of Virginia           

  Theresa Davis; Associate Professor; Cross Cultural Performance

  Michael Gerard Mason; Assistant Dean, African American Affairs; Director, Luther Porter Jackson Black Cultural Center

University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee             

  Nan Kim; Associate Professor, Director of Public History

Valdosta State University   

  Tameka Hobbs; Coordinator of African American Studies & Associate Professor of History

Virginia Commonwealth University               

  Brian Daugherity; Associate Professor; History

  Nicole Turner; Assistant Professor, Department of History

Washington University in St. Louis 

  Jack Kirkland; Associate Professor, Social Work

Members of The HistoryMakers Digital Humanities Committee are made up of librarians, faculty, and researchers, focused solely on exploring methods to provide more context for The HistoryMakers collection, and to provide further entry points for students and researchers, using cutting edge digital techniques and data analytics. Led initially by work produced out of the Yale University Digital Humanities Lab, this committee works collaboratively across institutions to conceive and implement projects that offer new ways of understanding and engaging with The HistoryMakers content, and that will surface latent themes and characteristics of the Collection.

Examples of the Digital Humanities Committee’s work include a text-modeling experiment using transcripts from The HistoryMakers Collection ( generated by Yale University’s Digital Humanites Lab. The 25-topic model used machine algorithms to explore themes based on word frequency and co-occurrence. 

Boston University  

  Vika Zafrin; Digital Scholarship Librarian

Carnegie Mellon University              

  Mike Christel; Teaching Professor; Entertainment Technology Center

Howard University

  Lopez Matthews; Digital Preservation Librarian

Michigan State University  

  Julian Carlos Chambliss; Professor; English, History

Rutgers University 

  Krista White; Digital Humanities Librarian and Head, Media Services

Stanford University               

  Hannah Frost; Manager, Digital Library Product & Service Management

  Glen Worthey; Digital Humanities Librarian Co-Lead of The Center For Interdisciplinary Digital Research

University of Iowa 

  Thomas Keegan; Head, Digital Scholarship & Publishing Studio

University of Richmond       

  Lauren Tilton; Visiting Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities

University of Virginia           

  John Unsworth; Dean of Libraries, University Librarian, Professor of English

Yale University        

  Catherine DeRose; Digital Humanities Lab Manager

  Peter Leonard; Director, Digital Humanities Lab

Members of The HistoryMakers Library & Archives Committee are made up of librarians, archivists, and library administrators at each of The HistoryMakers partner institutions. Rather than serving solely as a database for partner institutions, The HistoryMakers also seeks to facilitate connections that will enrich the physical collections of partner libraries, as well as exploring mechanisms for connecting The HistoryMakers oral history interviews with other oral history collections or supporting contextual materials.

Projects of the Library & Archives Committee have included working with The HistoryMakers on the re-institution of a training program for minority archivists at Yale University, Harvard University, and Emory University; facilitating the donation of the personal papers of HistoryMakers like Angela Davis (Schlesinger Library), Daphne Maxwell Reid (Northwestern University), and Senator Emil Jones (University of Illinois, Chicago) to institutional repositories for preservation. 

Boston University  

  Vita Paladino; Director, Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center

Brandeis University               

  Matthew Sheehy; University Librarian

Carnegie Mellon University              

  Erica Linke; Associate Dean & Director of Collections and Information Access

Columbia University             

  John Tofanelli; Research Collections and Services Librarian, Humanities/History

Cornell University  

  Eric Acree; Director, John Henrik Clarke Africana Library

Emory University    

  Yolanda Cooper; University Librarian

Harvard University

  Marilyn Dunn; Executive Director of the Schlesinger Library and Librarian of the Radcliffe Institute

Johnson C. Smith University              

  Monika Rhue; Director of Library Services and Curation

Northwestern University    

  Kathleen Bethel; African American Studies Librarian

  Charla Wilson; Archivist for the Black Experience

Princeton University             

  Steven Knowlton; Librarian for History and African American Studies

Rutgers University 

  Consuella Askew; Director, Dana Library

University of Arkansas         

  Carolyn H. Allen; Dean of Libraries

University of Chicago           

  Brenda Johnson; University Librarian

University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign

  Harriett Green; Head of Scholarly Communication and Publishing; Scholarly Communication and Publishing Librarian, Associate Professor

University of Iowa 

  Dan Johnson; Consulting Archivist

University of Pennsylvania

  Nicholas Okrent; Coordinating Bibliographer and Librarian for the Humanities, Bibliographer and Liaison for World History and Humanities

University of Virginia           

  Sony Prosper; Resident Librarian; Special Collections

Virginia Commonwealth University               

  John Ulmschneider; University Librarian

Innovation and Pedagogy Conference Materials

The HistoryMakers Digital Archive Innovation and Pedagogy Conference 2024

Emory Conference Center, Atlanta, Georgia Sunday, February 25, 2024 – Monday, February 26, 2024


February 11-12, 2018; New York City 48 Attendees from 30 of 35 subscribing institutions.


February 5-6, 2017; New York City 40 Attendees from 19 of 19 subscribing institutions.


April 25-26, 2016; New York City 23 Attendees from 9 of 10 subscribing institutions.

Digital Humanities

Combining state of the art technology with traditional oral history to create a more robust and comprehensive resource has long been one of The HistoryMakers goals. Now, with the development of The HistoryMakers Digital Archive, this goal has reached fruition in a unique platform. However, The HistoryMakers corpus is still largely unexplored, and is now ripe for exploration along interdisciplinary lines. As a burgeoning academic discipline, the Digital Humanities has already established itself as a collaborative space for scholars in varying areas to combine their expertise – elucidating new ideas and trends in data and the historical record that had never before been explored.

With over 9,000 hours of fully-transcribed time-aligned video content, robust search capabilities, and hundreds of thousands of fields of metadata, The HistoryMakers has amassed an impressive dataset for technologists and data scientists to experiment with, but through The HistoryMakers Digital Archive, this vast content is also accessible for those without background in analytics or quantitative fields. In order to encourage scholars from all areas to explore The HistoryMakers content more deeply, and to use it in the creation of innovative new projects, a Digital Humanities committee was formed within The HistoryMakers Higher Education Advisory Board, and a Digital Humanities Fellowship Award was created in 2019.