The items in this online exhibition evoke the stories of American women through the ages.
Click on any image to begin.

Black Women’s Oral History Project interview with Pleasant Harrison, 1979, and Chinese-American Women Oral History Project interview with Ai-Li Shen Chin, 1994


Two interviews from oral history projects sponsored by the Library—the Black Women Oral History Project (BWOHP) and the Chinese American Women Oral History Project (CAWOHP)—are excerpted here.

Pleasant Harrison (1915–2002) was interviewed for the BWOHP in 1979, and she discusses her grandfather's recollections of the day the Emancipation Proclamation was signed. Harrison spent her childhood working on cotton farms. In adulthood, she developed an interest in the crafts and handiwork done by slaves and demonstrated spinning at schools and museums using her 120-year-old spinning wheel.
Ai-Li Shen Chin (1919–2017) emigrated from China to the United States in 1937 and received her PhD in sociology from Radcliffe College in 1951. In her CAWOHP interview, she discusses education in the United States and China—a subject she was intimately familiar with, having left China after graduating high school and completing her undergraduate education at Colby-Sawyer College before attending Radcliffe.
Black Women Oral History Project Interviews; Chinese American Women Oral History Project Audiovisual Collection

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Explore the Schlesinger Library’s research guide to its audiovisual materials.

Heather Min