The $220,000 funded budget supported Project personnel specifically, a full-time technical support person, and funds to contract with an oral historian to conduct the in-depth interviews. Other major budget items included travel and transcription services. There was also budget support for some equipment purchases and supplies. However the Project would never have achieved success without the almost dollar-for-dollar inkind match to which Dr. Battle was willing to commit the Center in support of the Project. This included support for a half –time project director, and portions of the salaries of the curator, cataloger and administrator who provided services to the project. So the actual cost of the project is in excess of $400,000.

As proposed, the project focussed on the first 20 years after passage of the Voting Rights Act: 1965 through 1985. In-depth oral history research interviews were to be conducted with 50 or more officials elected as a direct consequence of passage of the Act and with individuals who worked for and against passage of the original legislation and its amendments in 1970, 1975 and 1982. In addition, the Project planned to solicit the personal papers of those interviewed who had not already arranged for placement of their papers elsewhere. The proposal also provided for transcribing all interviews to make them more accessible to researchers. To facilitate broad access to the transcripts, copies would be deposited at 10 other academic and research institutions, including several historically Black colleges. We also envisioned presenting the findings of the Project in journal articles, conference papers, and forums such as we are having today.

The proposal became the blueprint for the first year of operation, which began on September 1, 1994. By the end of my tenure, in August 1995, approximately 30 interviews were completed and more than 10 had begun the transcription process. We had also developed a bibliography on the Voting Rights Act, and mounted an exhibition in anticipation of the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Act on August 6, 1995.

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November 1999