Oral Histories

Oral histories are an important component of the Gregory School’s historic collections. Oral history interviews are conducted with people who have made important contributions to Houston’s African American experience. The videos are transcribed, and researchers may have access to both the typed transcripts and the recorded video. Some of the interviews will be posted online in order to broaden their availability to researchers unable to visit the Gregory School in person.

Click here to access our online collection of oral histories.

Oral History FAQ

What is an Oral History?

Oral histories are a valued component of the Gregory School’s collections. Oral history interviews are conducted with men and women, both ordinary everyday people, as well as the famous, which made contributions to Houston’s African American history. People come in and tell us their experiences and then those interviews are made available to scholars, students, researchers, and the general public on our website.

What is the Process?

After a brief preliminary conversation to determine the topics of the oral history, our oral history archivist conducts a one-on-one interview with the participant. This is not a test and we do not wish to embarrass or surprise you! In fact, you may bring things with you to jog your memory. Before recording, you must sign our Authorization and Release Form. We record in a private office on our premises, and we will do our very best to accommodate your schedule. Please be aware, to avoid possible disappointment by interviewees or potential interviewees, that we have strict guidelines we must follow regarding which oral histories may be taken and which may be posted. Please call to find out about scheduling an oral history today, or tell your friends, family, and colleagues about this opportunity.

How do I participate in an oral history for the Gregory School?

Call our oral history archivist at 832-393-1515 to discuss any potential interviews. We have set guidelines limiting what we may add to the collection based on several criteria, such as where the donor of the oral history is from or lived most of his/her life, where the events of the oral history took place, and the impact the events had on the African American community. Therefore, it is possible we may not be able to take your oral history or to post it online.

How long will it take before the oral history is posted to the web site?

There is no way of saying for sure. Based on staff time constraints and the length of the interview, it may take a few weeks or a few months.

What else should I know about oral histories at the Gregory School?

As with our traditional archival donations, no money exchanges hands for donations to our oral history collection. We make these interviews available purely for the public's use, free of charge. We are not journalists, and we are not out to "break" any stories based on our oral history interviews.

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