Current ProjectsThese projects are among the topics currently under investigation by the Institute for Oral History faculty, staff, and graduate assistants. Other work continues through the Institute's Faculty Research Fellows, as well as recipients of our Community History Award and Charlton Oral History Research Award.
• For the Greater Good: Philanthropists in Waco. Funded through the support of Waco's Cooper Foundation, this project's goal is to document and present the lives and philanthropic efforts of several key local philanthropists through recorded, transcribed, and edited oral history memoirs. The project recognizes their contributions, preserves their memory, and uses their stories to encourage philanthrophy. The Cooper Foundation is a local benevolent public trust whose mission is to make Waco a better or more desirable city in which to live. Interviewers for this project are Stephen Sloan, Lois Myers, and Michelle Holland.
• Dance All Night. Listening to and dancing to live music was a big part of the social scene all across America in the post-World War II era. Administrative Associate Becky Shulda remembers being charmed as a little girl listening to her mother's stories of Waco's ballrooms and dance halls, where young people did the jitterbug and lindy hop to live music. Did the advent of television and rock 'n' roll spell an end to this lively and engaging era of cultural history? By interviewing local musicians and patrons of the clubs in the late forties and all through the fifties, Becky hopes to capture this important part of Waco history and answer this very question.
• Waco Broadcasting Project. Editor Michelle Holland is launching this exploration of the early days of local radio and television through collecting memorabilia and conducting interviews with key players.
• Breaking New Ground. Breaking New Ground focuses on the history and experience of African American farmers in the South since the Civil War. The project is funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and project directors are Adienne Petty, of City College of New York, and Mark Schultz, of Lewis University, with Jacquelyn Dowd Hall serving as the project's advisor. Priscilla Martinez, a 2011 Baylor graduate and M.A. student in American studies, was one of twelve students chosen nationwide for participation in the project. The project interviews will be deposited in the Southern History Collection at the University of North Carolina, and Ms. Martinez's interviews with Texas African American farmers will be co-deposited and transcribed at Baylor.
• Rev. Dr. Prathia Hall: A Black Woman Minister of the Civil Rights Movement. This project investigates Prathia Hall's role in the movement as an activist and as a black woman minister. Hall worked with SLCC and SNCC in Southwest Georgia, Selma, and Mississippi during the civil rights movement. After Bloody Sunday, Hall returned to Philadelphia and later became a minister and professor. The project is the work of Courtney Lyons, doctoral candidate in Baylor's Department of Religion.
• Messianic Jewish Movement in the Ukraine. The Messianic Jewish Movement in the Ukraine originated in the U.S. during the 1970s Jesus Movement and was transplated to the former Soviet Union in the 1990s during a sweeping postcommunist religious revival. This research is a thesis project by Lidiya Tonoyan for her master's degree in church-state studies at Baylor.
The research emphases of the Institute for Oral History have evolved since its founding in 1970. The projects below are broad rubrics under which discrete studies continue to be created. The Institute has ongoing collection in the following areas: