Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
library banner

HistoryMakers: Home

Learn how to use History Makers in your class or for a project.


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.  HistoryMakers provides access to over 119,684 stories from oral history interviews with 2,691 historically significant African Americans.

HistoryMakers includes interviews with people from across the United States, with varied backgrounds. Their memories stretch from the 1890s until the present. The interviews do not focus on one particular event, but instead, cover the interviewee's entire life and their own family's oral histories. 

At this time HistoryMakers does not work on Internet Explorer. Please use Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.

Maker Directory

Search by Maker

The Maker Directory allows for easy access to biographical information and the full interviews of all 2,691 (as of Jan 2019) HistoryMakers. Limit your search by job type, maker category, birth place and more.

Topic Search


Search for subtopics of larger themes like black community life, social dimension issues such as public health, abuse, or class, personal identity such as religion or ethnic identity (no option currently for LBGT identity), personal values and more.

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


Background on The History Makers

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 history makers' 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

Image of adding video to 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.

Only people with access to Dominican's 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 HisotoryMakers: 

HistoryMakers Biographies

Search for Biographies

If you are looking for more biographical information about a particular HistoryMaker, go to HistoryMakers public site. Their public site has different search function not found on the video archives, it also includes more biographical information. Please note that not every HistoryMaker in the public biography site has been added to the video archives yet.