Today the collection and use of oral history in museums is more popular than ever before. One of the most popular and well-known collections is StoryCorps founded in 2003 and really made an impact when NPR incorporated playing some of the recordings within its radio programming. In Baltimore, the Maryland Historical Society conducted 215 interviews among several generations of immigrants who populated the city's ethnic neighborhoods. It was called the Baltimore Neighborhood Heritage Project and covered the years from 1904 through the late 1970s. Another Baltimore project, sponsored by former Maryland governor Theodore McKeldin and Lillie Mae Jackson, a civil rights figure in the 1930s and 1940s, involved interviews with civil rights leaders in that era and up through the 1960s.


Oral histories have the capability of breathing life into inanimate objects. They can bridge gaps by providing introductions to otherwise unknown people, remote places, or obscure things. Most importantly, oral histories have the ability to merge and connect the past with the present, creating a lasting legacy for future generations.


GRAAMA has been collecting both audio and video recordings from various Grand Rapids natives and residents, all with their own personal insights and interesting historical perspectives. Like our mission implies, GRAAMA'S VOICES would love to hear your story - allowing us to archive it as well as share its content with others. If you have a story you'd like to share about Grand Rapids or related to the city please forward an email to bayardgallery@aol.com. We'd love to come and talk with you!


We will be, from time to time, posting a number of those exceptional recordings here so check back often.

@ 2020 Grand Rapids African American Museum & Archives


87 Monroe Center St NW

Grand Rapids, MI 49503

616.649.3778 o