The HBCU Truth & Reconciliation Oral History Project is an educational project sponsored by the United States Christian Leadership Organization (USCLO) and Rev. Steve Miller in conjunction with seven Texas HBCUs including Wiley College, Texas Southern University, Prairie View A&M University, Southwestern Christian University, Jarvis Christian College, St. Philip’s College, and Huston-Tillotson University, along with Kairos Collaborative, 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 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. 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.
Adrienne Cain is the Assistant Director of the Institute for Oral History and Secretary/Treasurer of the Texas Oral History Association (TOHA). Cain holds the rank of Lecturer on the Baylor University faculty. Prior to coming to Baylor, she served as the Oral History and Media Librarian for Houston Metropolitan Research Center (HMRC) at the Houston Public Library. In that capacity, she facilitated access to a collection of over 1,500 oral histories through organizing, arranging, describing, transcribing, digitizing, and developing policies and procedures. Prior to joining HMRC, she worked as the Oral History Librarian for the African American Library at the Gregory School, where she reorganized their collection and significantly increased awareness of the collection along with the amount and quality of the recordings. Due to these efforts, TOHA recognized the Gregory School in 2014 with its Mary Faye Barnes Award for Excellence in Community Oral History. Cain holds a Master of Library Science from the University of North Texas and a BA from Prairie View A&M University.
Cain was introduced to the world of oral history while serving as an intern in NASA’s Johnson Space Center History Office. She joined TOHA in 2013, received the TOHA community award in 2014 In 2015, she was elected to the Board of Directors. She also holds membership in the Society of Southwest Archivists, the Texas Library Association, and Archivists of the Houston Area.
Dr. Jesse Esparza is an Assistant Professor of History in the College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Sciences at Texas Southern University, where he has taught since 2009. His area of expertise is on the history of Latinos in the United States with an emphasis on civil rights activism. Dr. Esparza is currently working on a manuscript entitled Raza Schools: Latino Educational Autonomy and Activism in Texas, 1920-1980 which offers a multiracial narrative of a Latino-owned school district in west Texas since the end of the 09.07.2020rev.b USCLO Grant Proposal Supplemental Information Page 16 of 18 First World War through the post-civil rights era. Dr. Esparza teaches Mexican American, Texas, Civil Rights, and Latin American History. He received his B.A. and a master’s degree in History from Southwest Texas State University and a Ph.D. in History in 2008 from the University of Houston.
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. 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. Edward J. Robinson earned his Ph. D. in African American History from Mississippi State University in Starkville in 2003. 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 senior pastor at North Tenneha Church of Christ in Tyler, 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. Sharron Y. Herron-Williams, born in Montgomery, Alabama, was educated the Carver Creative and Performing Arts Center (CCPAC). For her undergraduate career, she chose Stillman College with majors History/Pre-Law and a minor in Political Science, graduating Magna Cum Laude as the Outstanding Student in History. Continuing her education at Mississippi State University, Dr. Herron-Williams received the Master of Public Policy and Administration (MPPA) and the Doctor of Philosophy in Public Administration. She is an avid supporter of the arts and previously served on the Fresno Metropolitan Museum Board, as the first Executive Director for the Kenneth L. Maddy Institute of Public Affairs at California State University at Fresno and the Steering Committee for the National Center for the Study of African American Culture and History at Alabama State University. While continuing to envision what broader connections are developed by having people communicate and create through different forums, she created SUSLA Engage and Dream Beyond with Dr. Shavonne.
Dr. Herron-Williams has over 20 years’ experience in higher education as administrator, educator, lecturer, researcher, facilitator, consultant, and mentor. She has held research, faculty and administrative posts at large research universities and minority serving institutions. She has served as president and/or chair of numerous professional organizations. These appointments have taken her through the faculty, staff and administrative ranks in higher education. She has been trained in academic affairs, student affairs, international affairs, executive administration, and athletic administration and am aptly qualified for leadership. She has designed programs, written grants, identified curricular and co-curricular opportunities, led and accompanied administrators, students and faculty on study away and abroad experiences, conducted training, developed and executed memoranda of understanding and continue to broker and maintain relationships. Over the past 15 years, she has traveled and visited five of the seven continents with the goal of insuring that universities and other entities continue to evolve as engaged institutions and competitors in the global market.
Professor Tomiko Meeks is a professional historian, freelance editor, and professor. She is a graduate of the University of Houston with a BA in Industrial/Organizational Psychology and a MA in History with a focus on Public History. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., where she serves as her Chapter’s Historian.
Her passion is history and she has worked on several projects which include a collaboration with the University of Houston and the Menil Collection on The Effects of Atlantic Slave Trade in Visual Culture of Africa. She served as co-chair of the Digital Humanities Symposium at Houston Community College and she is currently conducting research on Houston’s Historic Fourth Ward and is the author of Freedmen’s Town, Texas: A Lesson in the Failure of Historic Preservation. She is the recipient of the College of Liberal Arts and Behavioral Science award for outstanding contingent faculty at Texas Southern University for two consecutive years and the 2019 recipient of the Dr. Rod Paige Faculty Award.
Reverend Steve Miller is a community organizer and humanitarian working in civil rights in the State of Texas for over eleven years. His work has resulted in Federal civil rights investigations by the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights and the United States Department of Justice concerning racism, primarily, within the Texas educational system. His work, in conjunction with those departments, led to the installation of districtwide racial sensitivity trainings, as well as the prosecution, in conjunction with the Texas State Chapter of the NAACP, of Federal lawsuits at the U.S. District Court level. He has been the impetus behind wholesale rewrites of discipline policies within the educational system resulting in fewer loved ones of color being captured in the education system’s disciplinary apparatus, which correlates highly with elevated juvenile justice incarceration rates and mass incarceration. His work has brought fairness and equity to hiring and advancement, as well as other opportunities where segments of the population never had legitimate opportunities for employment or elevation. Miller holds a B.S in Political Science from Texas A&M University; a B.S. in Finance from the University of Houston; a Master’s in Business with a concentration in Commercial Real Estate Development and Finance from May’s Business School, Texas A&M University; and a Master’s of Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, TX. He, along with Dr. Asante Todd of Austin Presbyterian, authored a comprehensive 45-year operational, philosophical, and intellectual plan towards racial reconciliation.
Dr. Walter Price is a highly acclaimed speaker and three-time Toastmaster International Distinguished Toastmaster. He is a personal development and encouragement coach who trains executives, managers, supervisors, and team leaders for Fortune five hundred (500) organizations all over the world. He trains and consultants for Harvard University’s School of Public Health, the Texas Attorney General’s Office (Texas Mediation Initiative), and North Central Texas Council of Governments.
Dr. Stephen Sloan holds a PhD 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. Angela McPherson Williams is the Director of Student Success at St. Philip’s College. With 24 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.