Oral History Project: An important next step

Thursday, February 29, 2024

laptop with sound waveThe Library is delighted to announce the second phase of the Special Collections & Archives’ Oral History Project is now available in our online archive. This next step in the project was an important partnership with the Office of the Associate Vice-President, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Anti-Racism. 

“This Oral History Project is critically important to our understanding of the black presence on campus and capturing the stories of the people who are currently here and their experiences. And it adds to the historiography of blackness on this campus, which goes back pretty much to the beginning…” says Dr. Christopher Taylor, Associate Vice-President, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion & Anti-Racism. 

If the goal of the Black radical tradition is to liberate, being involved in this project accomplished the beginnings of unlocking a method to connect with more Black students, faculty and staff at the University of Waterloo. This project focused on capturing the voices Black students, faculty and staff connected to Waterloo. Akin to phase one, the goal is to preserve histories in a way familiar to Black identity and Blackness. Oral histories have always been part of Africana culture.  

Jermal Jones, the Library’s Associate Director, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Access, led this phase of the project, conducting interviews with six Black members of the Waterloo community over the course of summer 2023: one student, two faculty, two staff and one alumnus. “I am not an Oral Historian by any means, I said yes to this project through sheer curiosity and was graced to learn so much about each of these unique and important members of our community. I hope they, like myself, experienced some aspect of liberation telling their story and more importantly etching their contributions to the University of Waterloo in multiple ways. Some are small, some are large, and some connect the Kitchener-Waterloo community, yet ALL equally important.”  

The interviews highlight the histories that formed these individuals, what makes UWaterloo unique, their hopes for Waterloo at 100 and so much more. And there are many other individuals that have unique stories to share about their experiences at Waterloo. The Library hopes to continue this project to create a dynamic, diverse archive of the University of Waterloo told by the people who studied and worked here.  

Check out the Oral History Hub

In Library fashion, Jones has put together a list of recommended titles if you would like to dig deeper into black histories after listening to each of the interviews.  

  1. 2024 (16)
    1. April (3)
    2. March (7)
    3. February (4)
    4. January (2)
  2. 2023 (33)
    1. December (2)
    2. November (4)
    3. October (4)
    4. September (3)
    5. August (3)
    6. July (2)
    7. June (4)
    8. May (4)
    9. April (2)
    10. March (3)
    11. February (2)
  3. 2022 (20)
    1. November (3)
    2. October (5)
    3. September (2)
    4. August (1)
    5. July (1)
    6. June (1)
    7. May (3)
    8. April (1)
    9. March (1)
    10. February (1)
    11. January (1)
  4. 2021 (25)
  5. 2020 (24)
  6. 2019 (27)
  7. 2018 (34)
  8. 2017 (46)
  9. 2016 (55)
  10. 2015 (53)
  11. 2014 (52)