About the Project
Voices of SMU is a collaboration between students, alumni, and entities across campus to diversify the University Archives’ holdings. More generally, the SMU Archives tend to represent faculty and staff better than students. When it comes to documenting students, this often means documenting the majority. With Voices of SMU, Undergraduate Research Assistants conduct oral history interviews with SMU alumni from underrepresented groups. The oral histories are made available online in the SMU Libraries Digital Collections. The project grew out of a “Doing Oral History” class in 2018 and has since enabled extracurricular research experience for students—using the university archives, conducting and preserving interviews, presenting at conferences, and publishing their findings.
The interviews document not only the history of the university, but Texas as well, including the desegregation of higher education, the experiences of African American and Latinx university students, and Black and Brown student activism in Texas. They speak to growing up in Dallas’ Little Mexico; post-World War II African American community-building in places such as Hamilton Park, Dallas; studying as an undocumented student; organizing as minority seminarians and student activists; and shaping Texas’s churches, social ministries, and business communities upon graduation.