Texas civil rights discussed in panel

By Justin Grass/ reporter

Historians of Texas civil rights gave students insight into oral history’s connections to civil rights movements April 10 on NE Campus.

For Texas Christian University’s Civil Rights in Black and Brown Oral History Project’s discussion, moderator and NE history instructor Tramaine Anderson said in Texas most civil rights issues are associated with African-Americans and Mexican-Americans.

TCU’s interview database “is a publicly accessible, free and user-friendly multimedia digital humanities website” that provides interview video clips gathered by their oral historians, Anderson said.

The three panelists each explained why oral history projects are important and specifically how the project connects with civil rights in Texas.

“When we talk about the history of the civil rights movement, that narrative that we tell doesn’t cover every place,” NE history adjunct instructor and oral historian Meredith May said.

She said oral historians broaden the narrative of civil rights movements by gathering facts from different groups.

“The first thing I would encourage all of you to do is to go out and talk to your older family members to get those stories while you still have them because once they’re gone, they’re gone,” she said.

NE history adjunct instructor and oral historian Karen Wisely said personal connections can make history seem more powerful.

“Putting a personal story on it affects people more than just reading facts in a book,” she said.

TCU doctoral student and oral historian Moises Acuna-Gurrola recalled reading newspaper articles and wishing he knew someone at the event so they could tell him things that couldn’t be documented.

“These certain things, all you get is just the climax, never the buildup and never the fallout of the event,” he said.