New Technology Enhances Depth of African-American Oral History Project

Drawing on a wealth of oral interviews collected by activist and politician Julian Bond and historian Phyllis Leffler, Black Leaders on Leadership examines the lives of prominent African-Americans to trace the contours of black leadership in America. Included are accounts from a wide variety of figures, including John Lewis, Clarence Thomas, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Vernon Jordan, Angela Davis, and Amiri Baraka. The volume is deeply enhanced by the use of QR codes embedded in the text, which further elucidate the lives of those interviewed. Through the QR codes, readers are brought to a website – – which hosts the complete interviews, is fully searchable by topic, and allows the voices and faces of those interviewed to come alive.

These individual and collective memories form a genealogy of social and cultural identity, demonstrating how leadership emerges from historical struggle rooted in the promise of a brighter future. The project offers valuable insights into the intractable disparities of race in America.

Educators will also find seven leadership lessons for use in classrooms and a full glossary of terms in both print and electronic formats.