as of February 2013
Research project description from the Center for the Study of Women and Society‘s website:
The Activist Women’s Voices Oral History Project and Archive was a project committed to documenting the voices of unheralded activist women in community-based organizations in New York City. The project was established in 1995 under the leadership of both Professor Joyce Gelb, then Director of the Women’s Studies Program and Center for the Study of Women and Society, and Professor Patricia Laurence, Deputy Director. The project created links between activist women in the community and faculty researchers in the university.
In addition, graduate students from different disciplines in the Center helped to lay the groundwork for the partnerships. Students were trained to do oral histories according to professional standards, and interviewed community leaders. Integrating this experience into their doctoral research, they transformed what is considered “knowledge” in the university.
A broad attempt was made to get a cross section of women represented in the Oral History Collection from across the boroughs of New York City including diversity of religion, ethnicity, sexual preference etc. Those interviewed were not necessarily involved in women’s groups; rather they were identified through a series of preliminary conversations with people active in NYC community affairs, as well as the funders. Those interviewed were asked about their backgrounds, how they came to be advocates for their causes, and to assess their successes and failures, among other queries. Thirty two women were interviewed from community groups such as The Family Violence Center, Coast to Coast Women of Color, May’an’s Jewish Women’s Project, Wayside Baptist Church Training for Girls, the CIO, Family Support Center, Urban Homesteading, AIDS Counseling and Education for Women Returning from Priston, the Weeksville Society for the Preservation of African-American Culture and Heritage, Bread and Roses, Haitian Community Health Center, Pregones Theater, BEGIN Project of Literacy Partners, West Harlem Environmental Action Committee, HACER Job Training for Hispanic Women, the Older Women’s League, Women Make Movies.
The project also resulted in a preliminary data base of oral history collections with a particular focus on Asian and Hispanic immigrant women after 1940. The last interview was taped on May 14th, 1998.
The project was generously funded by AT&T, the Ford Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Ms. Foundation for Education and Communication, the New York Council for the Humanities, and the American Association of University Women. The collection is archived at the Mina Rees Library of the Graduate Center of the City University of NY. It can be accessed with special permission.