I See My Light Shining: Oral Histories of Our Elders

The Columbia Center for Oral History Research and Incite have partnered with the Emerson Collective and Baldwin For The Arts to support acclaimed author and 2020 MacArthur Fellow Jacqueline Woodson’s new project: I See My Light Shining: Oral Histories of Our Elders.

Through Baldwin For The Arts, a group of talented and award-winning writers will be deployed to conduct oral history interviews with elders in various regions of the country, capturing unrecorded memories and life experiences before these stories are lost to history. Each fellow will conduct approximately 30 interviews with people in targeted geographies across the United States, from New York City, to the American Deep South, to the Greenwood District in Tulsa, to Native American reservations in Arizona and New Mexico.

Those who are interviewed will also have the opportunity to have their family archival records preserved, including photographs, letters, and additional ephemera. The project is funded by Emerson Collective, an organization dedicated to creating pathways to opportunity so people can live to their full potential. Columbia serves in a curatorial and advisory capacity, adapting its longstanding expertise in oral history practice to help Woodson bring forth her vision.

I See My Light Shining is expected to be completed and available to the public in late 2024.