Birmingham Civil Rights Institute Oral History Project


The story of the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama was reported in newspapers, on the radio, and on television. Some say the extensive coverage changed the course of the Movement by showing the rest of the country the effects of segregation. However, the citizens of Birmingham couldn’t turn off the TV and ignore the violence. In 1995, the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute began an oral history project to collect the story of the Movement told around the dinner table rather than the one on the newsstand.

Over the years, the project has grown to include smaller oral history collections focused on more specific topics. These include, but are not limited to, experiences of foot soldiers, the life of Judge Oscar Adams, and white allies to the Movement. The collection contains over 600 interviews housed on VHS and MiniDV tapes and is still growing (on digital now!). Digitization began in 2019 and this site launched January 2020. Digitized interviews will be added to the site as they are processed, so continue to check back.



Vulcan Park and Museum is currently showing “Right or Privilege? Alabama Women and the Vote,” an exhibit detailing the fight for women’s suffrage in Birmingham and nationally. You can find the full interviews featured in the exhibit under the Vulcan Women’s Suffrage Exhibit tab. Find exhibit information and tickets at https://visitvulcan.com/.