Transforming Dartmouth: Oral Histories of Black Students from the 1960s and 1970s

Below you will find digital exhibits based on the oral history interviews conducted by the first two classes of Dartmouth Black Lives. These exhibits address a range of experiences of Black students who transformed Dartmouth in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s through their presence, their activism, and their community building.

The course that culminated in these exhibits trained students in the methods and interpretation of oral history, preparing them to interview Dartmouth Black alumni. Students conducted research in Rauner Special Collections Library and explored oral sources from other collections. They read secondary scholarship like Stefan Bradley's Upending the Ivory Tower: Civil Rights, Black Power, and the Ivy League and listened to Professor Bradley conduct oral history interviews with Woody Lee '68 and Tyrone Byrd '73. After students completed their interviews and created transcripts, they used their research to contextualize their narrators' experiences of the historical shifts underway at Dartmouth College — and the United States — from the 1950s through the 1970s. The interviews exhibited here have launched the collection, which Dartmouth students will continue to build over the years to come.


Dartmouth Black Lives (DBL) uses oral history and archival research to highlight the history of Black intellectual life and community building at Dartmouth College. This project draws inspiration from the July 2020 open letter authored by Dartmouth Black faculty, staff, and students. In keeping with the goals outlined in that letter, DBL aims to support and advance new efforts to reckon with the structural racism, White supremacy, and anti-Blackness that have plagued Dartmouth since its founding. To this end, DBL is a collaborative and community-based project that aims to bring Dartmouth students, alumni, staff, and faculty together via the practice of oral history. For more information about Dartmouth Black Lives, please visit the DBL website .

We are thankful for the students of Dartmouth Black Lives who have successfully launched this course and offered subsequent classes a model of intellectual commitment, collaboration, and intrepid research. We are tremendously grateful for the cohort of alumni narrators who volunteered to be interviewed for this project. Dartmouth Black Lives would not be possible without the indispensable support of Tyrone Byrd '73, Woody Lee '68, and Wes Pugh '73. This course has been made possible by the enthusiastic support of the departments of African and African American Studies and History. A number of faculty offered time, suggestions, and advice to help us launch this course: thanks to Ayo Coly, Michael Chaney, Cecilia Gaposchkin, Deborah King, Trica Keaton, Edward Miller, and Naaborko Sackeyfio-Lenoch. Thanks to Laura Braunstein for training us in Omeka-S and the fundamentals of exhibit design, and to August Guszkowski for crucial Omeka support and editing. Professor Stefan Bradley's scholarship provided a critical foundation for students. The oral history interviews he conducted with Woody Lee '68 and Tyrone Byrd '73 (and the conversations that followed) energized these classes and were highlights of both terms. We thank the Dean of Faculty's office for the Innovative Course Award that made this possible.