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NIU-DeKalb Community Black Oral History Project

The NIU-DeKalb Community Black Oral History Project contains oral history interviews conducted with members of the Black community in DeKalb County, Illinois, including Northern Illinois University. Project staff began collecting interview materials in video and text formats in 2020. The collection includes materials describing events and conditions in the period beginning in the late 1960s through the present.

Interviews focus on the Black experience, and include discussions of how interview subjects came to the county and university and how they perceived each; local racial attitudes and the experience of discrimination and/or fear; perceptions of changing attitudes and practices in the county and university; and aspects of community life that they would like to change.

Additional interviews will be added over the course of Fall 2023 and Spring 2024. This is a dynamic project that continues to grow.

The project is the result of a partnership between three units within Northern Illinois University: the University Libraries, the Department of History, and the Center for Black Studies. It is supported by the Friends of the NIU Libraries and NIU Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning.

Contact: Bradley Wiles, Head of Special Collections and Archives