The Griot is seeking oral history, folklore, folk medicine, children’s games, family histories, family photos and videos, correspondences, and any other materials that tell African American life and culture.

Austin Family History

The current collection includes the oral history of Zettie Bee Kelson (Austin) my great aunt. She discusses the family history, migration to the North from Mississippi, work life, traveling through the South, and a host of other topics. Her first interview was in 2002 and continued through 2014.

Family Bible Births

African American World War II Veterans

In 2002, Mr. Clarence Haywood was interviewed by Derrick Lanois to get his experience as a Navy man during World War II. Mr. Haywood talked about his perceptions of racism in the Navy, the United States, and Europe. In addition, he tells why he goes AWOL and his punishment. He discusses his ability to use the GI Bill after the war.

Collection Projects

The Griot is actively seeking to increase the oral histories of African American Veterans experience since World War II. We are starting a project collecting the oral history of a community in Memphis called New Chicago but want to collect the histories of other African American community experiences throughout the country but especially in the South. African American institutions (church, business, schools, and fraternal groups) have played a major role in African American history and culture and The Griot is seeking all participants but especially African American fraternalism (Prince Hall Freemasonry, Black Greek Letter organizations, the Boule, the Links,  Jack and Jill, Odd Fellows, Elks, etc).

Masonic Marching