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KZSU Project South transcripts now online

Radio Station KZSU

The University Archives and DLSS are pleased to announce that the Project South transcripts are now online. The transcripts document meetings and interviews with civil rights workers in the South recorded by several Stanford students affiliated with the campus radio station KZSU during the summer of 1965. The project was sponsored by the Institute of American History at Stanford. 

During the summer of 1965, eight students from Stanford University spent ten weeks in the southern states tape-recording information on the civil rights movement. The eight interviewers -- Mary Kay Becker, Mark Dalrymple, Roger Dankert, Richard Gillam, James McRae, Penny Niland, Jon Roise, and Julie Wells -- were sponsored by KZSU, Stanford's student radio station, and their original intent was to gather material suitable for rebroadcasting in the form of radio programs. Much attention was focused on white civil rights workers, although a great deal of other documentation relevant to black history was also obtained: the interviewers visited over fifty civil rights projects in six states and secured three hundred and thirty hours of recordings, including over two hundred hours of personal interviews. In addition to interviewing members of various, well-known civil rights groups -- the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party (MFDP), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC or `Snick') -- the student interviewers also recorded the formal and the informal remarks of those working with smaller, independent civil rights projects, of local blacks associated with the civil rights movement, and of many others including Ku Klux Klansmen and Southerners connected with the Sheriff's Department of Clay County, Mississippi. The interviewers, in addition, spoke with many white volunteers who participated in Snick's 'Washington Lobby' (aimed at unseating the all-white Mississippi Congressional Delegation) but who did not actually go south.

Several of the two-person interview teams recorded parts of the Jackson, Bougalusa, Greensboro, Crawfordsville, and West Point demonstrations, and also gathered various other action tapes of civil rights workers canvassing voters, conducting freedom schools, or participating in demonstrations. Finally, the interviewers recorded many mass meetings and gathered much material on the orientation sessions of MFDP in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and of SCLC in Atlanta, Georgia. All of these original tape recordings, which have been digitized but await streaming, are now housed in the Archive of Recorded Sound.

This material may prove to be especially valuable because it concerns a transitional period between the first `freedom summer' of 1964, the high tide of civil rights, and the `Meredith March of 1966 during which Stokely Carmichael first voiced the compelling cry of `Black Power'.

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