About the Project

The Unsung Heroes Project was conceived in 2009-10, when Matthew Barr, professor of Media Studies, and Dr. Chuck Bolton, professor of history co-taught an interdisciplinary course, Doing Visual History. Students from the two departments learned how to conduct and record oral history interviews on video. In 2010, the collaboration expanded to include Dr. Curtis Austin of Arizona State University; Austin, Bolton, and Barr interviewed three Civil Rights Movement veterans in the Hattiesburg, Mississippi, area.

More interviews followed, and in 2019, the UNCG Library became a partner in the project.

This project is a collaboration among UNCG's Department of Media Studies, Department of History, and University Libraries.

Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama
Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama. May 2015 © Clément Bardot
Licensed via Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International

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Project Staff

What Is Visual History?

Visual History is a subset of oral history, in that it focuses on individual narratives by people who lived through significant periods or events. These narratives then can be used as part of the historical record of the period. By recording image as well as sound, visual history interviews capture a dimension of communication that brings the stories to life. Our goal is to create a resource that can support many product streams-including articles and books, museum exhibits, and documentary films-that will influence scholarship and the cultural landscape for decades to come.

The interviews in the Unsung Heroes Project are recorded in high-definition video, then transcribed and digitized using OHMS (Oral History Metadata Synchronizer) software. OHMS syncs up video interviews with transcripts, interweaves images and illustrated materials, and uses keywords so that the materials are searchable.

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