The HBCU Truth & Reconciliation Oral History Project is an educational project sponsored by Wiley College of Marshall, TX in conjunction with Rev. Steve Miller of the United States Christian Leadership Organization and seven Texas HBCUs including Texas Southern University, Prairie View A&M University, Southwestern Christian University, Jarvis Christian College, St. Philip’s College, and Huston-Tillotson University along with Baylor University and its Institute of Oral History, and Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
The project’s aim is to use the power of spoken and documented words to create spiritual change and social equality. Its strategy is to capture personal stories of racial discrimination from ordinary citizens of color in Houston, TX and then frame those stories in academic research to educate, create legitimacy, improve relationships, develop compassion, and to encourage legislative, ecclesiastic, commercial, educational, and practical action.
This effort is a partnership of the Texas academic institutions mentioned above who will provide research, administrative support, publication, student recruitment, and training. After training in Oral History methodology, students will conduct interviews from ordinary Houstonians of color for later transcription and exhibition. This project will lay the groundwork for similar programs throughout Texas and then will advance across the entire United States. The stories will be integrated, digitally presented, publicly exhibited, and archived in Prairie View A&M University Library for use by students, scholars, journalists, activists, clergy, and policy-makers.
Scholars from each participating institution will collaboratively plan and design the research, educate students in the humanities, train the students in practical oral history techniques in accordance with research requirements, supervise the interview process, collate the research, perform research, and advance new academic thought and practical action in racial reconciliation, relationship building across ethnic lines, critical race theory, and the intersection of race and preaching about equality to Christian congregations.
Scholar Biographical Information
Dr. James Thomas Jones, III is an African-American scholar who is an expert in the Civil Rights Movement, Black Power Era, and Black Popular Culture (Hip-Hop Culture). Dr. Jones has matriculated from The Ohio State University with degrees in Africana Studies (B.A. & M.A.) and History (M.A. & Ph.D.). Jones’ doctoral dissertation was titled, Creating Revolution as they Advance: The Revolutionary Years of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Jones is currently an Associate Professor of History at Prairie View A & M University.
Dr. Stephen Sloan is a native of Henderson, TX and holds a Ph.D. in History from Arizona State University and is the Director of the Institute for Oral History and Associate Professor of History at Baylor University. With Mark Cave, he is the co-editor of Listening on the Edge: Oral History in the Aftermath of Crisis (winner of the Oral History Association’s 2015 Book Award). Other recent publications include a chapter in Doug Boyd and Mary Larson’s Oral History and Digital Humanities: Voice, Access, and Engagement and pieces in the Oral History Review, and the Sound Historian: The Journal of the Texas Oral History Association. Sloan, along with co-editors Lois Myers and Michelle Holland, also published Tattooed on My Soul: Texans Remember World War II in the fall of 2015 with University of Texas A&M Press. He is active in the national and international oral history community, having served as a past president of the Oral History Association and having presented his research abroad at academic conferences in Liverpool, Prague, Guadalajara, Naples, Istanbul, Buenos Aires, and Barcelona.
Dr. Raquel Henry is now the lead historian at Wiley College in Marshall, TX. But it was her Civil Rights Fellow and Assistant Professorship of history at Albany State University that positions her work in civil rights that now informs her work in the field of history. She received her Ph.D. in history from Indiana University, Bloomington in 2008, after teaching at Anderson University. She was a Preparing Future Faculty Fellow at Indiana University Southeast, a visiting lecturer at Indiana University Purdue, and an assistant editor for the Fredrick Douglass Papers. She received an M.A. in history from the State University of New York at Albany in 1994, and a B.A. from Indiana University, Bloomington in 1992. Dr. Henry’s work concerns the student Civil Rights Movement in Albany Georgia at Albany State College in 1961. She has collected oral histories of students involved in the movement, and is currently working on a book that will consider how the student movement developed into the Civil Rights Movement of the late 1950s and early 1960s.
Dr. Carolyn Browning Helsel is an Assistant Professor of Homiletics at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary by way of The Presbyterian Church in Sudbury (Massachusetts) where she served as transitional pastor through January 2015. She also served as visiting professor at both Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry and Wartburg’s Theological Seminary, as well as the associate director of admissions at Princeton Theological Seminary (2007-2010). The Practical Theologian and Presbyterian Minister is interested in bridging interdisciplinary insights of the academy with the lived practices of congregations. Her research emerges from questions arising out of the practice of ministry, and her ministerial practice seeks to use her theoretical background to enrich the local theologies of congregants she serves.
Dr. Edward J. Robinson earned his Ph.D. in African American History from Mississippi State University in Starkville in 2003 and serves as the Director of the Center for Student Success at Southwestern Christian College in Terrell, Texas. He has three master’s degrees, including a M.A. in Classical Greek, from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. A native of Jacksonville, Texas, he attended undergraduate school at Southwestern Christian College in Terrell, Texas. He currently serves as the pulpit minister at the West End Church of Christ in Terrell, Texas and has authored seven books with one title being: To Save My Race from Abuse: The Life of Samuel Robert Cassius (University of Alabama Press, 2007).
Dr. James M. Douglas is the dean and distinguished professor of law at Texas Southern University Law School, and former Texas Southern University president. Douglas was born on February 11, 1944 in Onalaska, Texas to Desso and Mary Douglas. He graduated from Texas Southern University in 1966 with a B.A. degree in mathematics. In 1970, Douglas received his J.D. degree from Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law, where he graduated first in his class. He went on to receive a J.S.M. degree in computer law from Stanford University in 1971.
Dr. Theodore S. Francis, II is an Assistant Professor of History at Huston-Tillotson University in Austin Texas. He teaches courses on U.S. History, African American History, and Caribbean History. He is a graduate of Warwick Academy Bermuda, Morehouse College, GA, and the University of Chicago, Illinois. His doctoral dissertation, “Fantasy Island: Race, Colonial Politics and the Desegregation of Tourism in the British Colony of Bermuda 1881-1961,” which charts the role of Black tourism, African American tourists, as well as popular protests in the process of desegregation in Bermuda in the late 1950s and early 1960s. His primary research and writing interests include: The African Diaspora in the Caribbean and Americas; historical and contemporary issues of tourism; anti-colonial movements in the Caribbean; Atlantic World slavery, resistance and post-emancipation societies.
Dr. Angela McPherson Williams is the Director of Student Success at St. Philip’s College. With twenty-four years of experience in higher education, McPherson Williams worked as an administrator in the Educational Affairs Division of Metropolitan Community College in Omaha, Nebraska; Assistant to the President at St. Philip’s College; Director of the Student Center and Leadership Activities at the University of the Incarnate Word; Coordinator of the Career and Transfer Services Center at Northwest Vista College; and returned to St. Philip’s College three years ago. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, a Master’s Degree in Community and Regional Planning from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and a doctorate degree in Education with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership from the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas.
Dr. Gregory Bosworth completed his Ph.D. at Howard University in Washington D.C. and his undergraduate and graduate studies at Southern University A&M College in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. His research interests lie in African American Studies with an emphasis on African American Communities during the Civil Rights Era. Dr. Bosworth’s research ranges from segregation to integration and the effects of the latter on the African American Community. In recent years, he has focused on better techniques for expressing, analyzing, and executing ideas in research to a broader audience. He has collaborated actively with researchers in other disciplines of African American Studies, particularly colleagues in the field of sociology as it relates to the African American community.