Oral Histories of Lower Roxbury Community Members Available for Research

Oral histories recorded under the auspices of Northeastern’s Lower Roxbury Black History Project are now open for research. The Lower Roxbury Black History Project evolved from a meeting on November 9, 2006 between Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun and members of the Black Ministerial Alliance of Massachusetts to discuss possible collaborations between Northeastern and Lower Roxbury clergy. During the meeting, Reverend Michael E. Haynes suggested the University create a history of the African American community in Lower Roxbury, so President Aoun appointed Joseph D. Warren, who was at that time Special Assistant to the Director of Government Relations and Community Affairs, to oversee the Lower Roxbury Black History Project. Warren’s advisory board consisted of Rev. Michael E. Haynes, formerly of Roxbury’s Twelfth Baptist Church, Massachusetts State Representative Byron Rushing, Northeastern University Archivist Joan D. Krizack, and Northeastern University history professors William M. Fowler Jr., Gerald H. Herman, and Robert L. Hall, and Northeastern Vice President for Public Affairs Robert P. Gittens. In November 2007, Warren hired Lolita Parker Jr., a photographer and documentary film researcher, to collect oral histories of Roxbury community members. From 2007-2009 with the assistance of her son, London Parker-McWorter, Parker spoke with over 40 residents of Roxbury. The 758.28 gigabytes of digital files and .90 cubic feet of records date from 2007-2009.  The collection contains video and audio oral histories of African American clergy, educators, businessmen, politicians, community activists, former military men, laborers, and citizens of Lower Roxbury. Interviewees discussed their families, childhoods, and geographic areas in Roxbury, including Roxbury Crossing, Sawyer Street, and Haskins Street, from the early to mid-20th century. Records include audio (.aiff / .mp3 / .wma); video (.avi / .mov / iMovieProject / MiniDVs); partial, edited, and unedited transcripts of interviews; scans; and photographs. A guide to the collection is available here. The Lower Roxbury Black History Project collection is open for research Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:00 p.m., in the Northeastern University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections Department, 92 Snell Library, Boston, Massachusetts. For a list of all the Department’s special collections, see this link. Adelaide Cromwell, noted Sociology Professor and the first African American instructor at New York’s Hunter College, during oral history interview, 2 April 2009.   For more information, please contact Joan Krizack, University Archivist and Head, Special Collections, at j.krizack@neu.edu or 617-373-8318.