The year 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the beginning of the Great Migration, one of the most significant historical transformations of the twentieth century. Between the First World War and early 1970s more than six and a half million African Americans fled the American South for northern and then western cities in a great mass exodus that transformed America and helped lay the ground work for the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s.
In fall 2014 and Spring 2016 Charles Hardy and I taught “Digital Storytelling and the Great Migration to Philadelphia,” a combined course teaming West Chester University graduate students in my seminar in digital history with undergraduate Honors College students and history majors enrolled in Charlie’s special topics course. Over the course of the semester, students worked closely with twenty-two oral history interviews archived at the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries with southern Blacks who migrated to Philadelphia in the early 1900s and Black Philadelphians who witnessed their arrival, creating Goin’ North: Stories from the First Great Migration to Philadelphia, built in Omeka and featuring oral histories indexed with OHMS (Oral History Metadata Synchronizer). The project has won the following awards:
- American Historical Association, Roy Rosenzweig Award for Innovation in Digital History, 2016
- Oral History Association Award for Best Non-Print Project, 2015
- Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, C. Herbert Finch Award, 2015
- West Chester University Holman Award for Innovation in Teaching, 2015
- West Chester University Student Research and Creativity Awards, 2015