The Joel Buchanan Archive of African American Oral History, funded by the UF Office of the Provost, has resulted in over twenty-five public history programs, university seminars on African American history, community-based oral history workshops, and over six hundred oral histories with African American elders in Florida covering topics including family memories of slavery, resistance to segregation, the coming of the modern civil rights movement and intersections of Black and Latinx narratives. 

Since 2009, the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program (SPOHP) has embarked on a major research initiative to gather and preserve African American oral histories in Florida. The Joel Buchanan Archive of African American Oral History has been primarily supported by the UF Office of the Provost, along with the National Park Service, UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and private donors. As one of the fastest growing SPOHP subcollections, this archive contains over 500 interviews that exist nowhere else. These interviews offer a wealth of African American narratives and complex reflections on topics, events and themes including:

  • Life under Jim Crow, including institution building, alternative educational techniques, food security, community-based healthcare, support and service organizations, displacement and dispossession, labor, armed self-defense, and tactics of resistance.
  • Civil Rights activism including, the Tallahassee Bus Boycott movement
  • Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), Southern Regional Council (SRC), local movement organizations, the integration of public institutions, facilities, and higher education including SEC sports
  • Personal memories of luminaries such as Mary Mcleod Bethune, Ralph Abernathy, Howard Thurman, and Harry T. Moore
  • Two interviews with the last living survivor of the 1923 Rosewood Massacre
  •  Interviews with pastors and leaders of historic black churches throughout Florida
  • Black high schools and efforts to retain their legacies and alumni associations
  • Veterans of World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf Wars.
  • Gullah-Geechee elders and Black Seminoles discussing coastal slavery, cultural traditions, and the legacies of the Seminole wars
  • African diaspora heritage from North America and the Caribbean
  • Narratives of forced slavery migration into Florida from the 1850s
  • The significance of Barack Obama and the 2008 elections

Our interviews and transcripts are frequently updated and we encourage researchers to visit the collections on a regular basis. If you are interested in referring a potential interviewee, conducting an interview, or assisting with transcription, please contact the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program at (352) 392-7168.

Using the Collections

The SPOHP archive is available for use by researchers and scholars, students, journalists, genealogists, and other interested groups. Documents may be accessed through this digital collection, as well as the archive in Pugh Hall on the UF campus. When using any content, please make sure to properly reference and comply with the Copyright Notice. We also encourage all researchers to conform to the Principles and Best Practices outlined by the Oral History Association.

Please use the following format to cite the material:

Transcript, (Name of interviewee) Oral History Interview with (Name of interviewer), {Date of interview), {page number), Samuel Proctor Oral History Program Collection, P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History, University of Florida.

For more information on the African American History Project (AAHP), see: