|and the collected memories of
those who marched and suffered, those who accompanied them in mind and spirit, and those
who struggled mightily to resist the coming of long deferred freedoms and the rise of a
new South, indeed, a new America.
Many of these memories and recollections are yet to be recorded. But, also out of the 1960s comes the most significant oral documentation of that decades civil rights activities and their many antecedents. This significant effort, which sought to "fashion a unique and authentic body of facts, opinions, and interpretations that [would] be informative, relevant, and useful to the serious students of civil rights who [would] require a broad knowledge of the principles, personalities, policies, dynamics, and goals that motivated the Civil Rights Movement since 1954,"2 was designated simply and appropriately the Civil Rights Documentation Project.
The Civil Rights Documentation Project was established formally on May 1, 1967 by the Fund for the Advancement of Education at the suggestion of Fund board member and United Nations Under Secretary Ralph J. Bunche. The Project was supported by the Fund from May 1967 through April 1971, by the Ford Foundation from May 1971 through April 1973, and was an unfunded Ford project through April 1974. In 1973, the Projects policy committee selected Howard University as the permanent repository and renamed the project The Ralph J. Bunche Oral History Collection in honor of its principle founder. Howard University was selected as the Projects permanent repository from among several other interested institutions because it satisfied key criteria established by the Projects policy committee: it was a Black institution; it had clearly demonstrated prior interest and involvement in civil rights and Black history; it was easily accessible; it assured fiscal stability and the security of the materials; and it had a broad-based program inclusive of a wide range of organizations, personalities, strategies, politics and activities.