Skip to Main Content

The HistoryMakers: Home

"The HistoryMakers was founded to address the lack of documentation and preservation of the African American historical record. "
The HistoryMakers the nation's largest African American video oral history collections
The HistoryMakers is the largest African American oral video history archive in the world. Founded in 1999, The HistoryMakers is a national non-profit educational institution committed to preserving, developing, and providing access to an internationally recognized archival collection of thousands of African American video oral histories.  The HistoryMakers provides access to over 148,163 stories from oral history interviews with 2,691 historically significant African Americans.
The HistoryMakers includes interviews with people from across the United States with a variety of backgrounds and experiences.  Their collective memories stretch as far back as the 1890s.  However, these interviews do not focus on any particular event; they span the interviewee's life and their family's collective oral histories.

At this time, The HistoryMakers does not work on Microsoft Edge (formerly Internet Explorer).  Please use Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.

Maker Directory

Search by HistoryMaker

The Maker Directory allows for easy access to biographical information and the full interviews of all 2,691 HistoryMakers (as of January 2020). Limit your search by job type, maker category, birthplace, and more.

Topic Search

Narrowing the search

Search for subtopics of larger biographical themes, such as Personal Values: ethics, work ethic, self-reliance/independence, the value of education, activism, dedication, spirituality, philanthropy, inherited values, and responsible/engaged citizenship, and more.

Biographical Themes in HistoryMakers under subsection Personal Values of ethics, work ethic, self reliance/independence, value of education, activism, dedication, spirituality, philanthropy, inherited values, and responsible/engaged citizenship.

What is History Makers? Why should I use this resource?

About The HistoryMakers

The only methodic and wide-scale attempt to capture the testimonies of African Americans occurred in the 1930s with the recording of former slaves as an undertaking of the Works Projects Administration (WPA). From 1936 to 1938, teams of writers and researchers were sent throughout the South resulting in approximately 2,300 hand-recorded interviews and some audio taped interviews.

The HistoryMakers is the next methodic and wide-scale collection effort since the WPA Slave Narratives Project. Our goal is to complete 5,000 interviews of both well-known and unsung African American HistoryMakers. While African Americans have made significant contributions to American life, society and culture, the world is still largely unaware of these contributions (text and image from The HistoryMakers' website,

history makers map of the U.S

How is the information organized?

HistoryMakers is organized by HistoryMaker (or interview subject). On the individual HistoryMaker pages, the full interviews are gathered in sequential order. However, each interview is also broken up into individual stories in a few minutes long clips. You can search the database for full stories or for stories on particular topics. 

Each story is accompanied by a synchronized text transcript, making the story searchable. 

Save and Share Stories

Create a Playlist

Using a the + icon, you can add individual sections of stories to a playlist that you then can name and share with a shareable link.

Image of adding video to playlist

Only people with access to AAMU's library databases will be able to view your playlist. To make it available off-campus, add the following URL code before the code you create on The HistoryMakers

HistoryMakers Biographies

Search for Biographies

If you are looking for more biographical information about a particular HistoryMaker, visit The HistoryMakers. The parent site has different search functions not available with the video archives; it provides more biographical information of the interviewee.

Biographies screenshot from The HistoryMakers page with statement "There are 3311 biographies" and images of Hank Aaron, Billye Aaron, and Raoul Abdul.

Please note that HistoryMaker's may not have a video available in the video archives.