Mississippi Oral History Program

The Mississippi Oral History Program is a joint venture by a state agency, a state university, and the Mississippi Humanities Council to document and preserve the history and culture of this state through a statewide oral history project.

The Mississippi Department of Archives and History is the state agency which receives the special funds from the Mississippi Legislature, immediately passing the money to MHC. MHC handles administrative details and money, makes grants to non-profit groups for oral history projects in local communities, promotes and advertises the program, arranges for public programs and special interviews, purchases equipment and materials, and generally tends to all details other than training and interviewing. MHC staff oversee the program, and the Council funds oral history projects with its own money as well as with state funds.

The University of Southern Mississippi carries out the details of the project, with professional staff working with local groups to conduct training, helping with planning specific projects, serving as consultants and trouble-shooters. Once interviews are collected, they are professionally transcribed at USM, with copies of tapes and of printed interviews going to the local sites and each participant. The master tapes remain at the USM library, where they are permanently archived, according to standards established by a Professional Standards Committee. The materials are readily available to scholars and researchers, teachers and students, and to the general public, and on the internet.

The Mississippi Oral History program is sponsored by the Mississippi Humanities Council with funding from the Mississippi Legislature through a grant from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.