Oral History Interviews

Preserving Voices of the Past

Capturing America’s missing stories.

New Jersey Orators, inc. has added Oral History Interviews as an addition to our oratorical and literacy programming offered to youth by our organization.

In partnership with National Association of University Women (NAUW) headquarters leadership, we developed a nationwide civic engagement project. This NAUW Civic Engagement Project is called “Remembering Their Legacy: An Oral History of our Seniors.” It involves interviewing seniors in their 90’s and beyond who have experienced the Civil Rights Era and have recollections of Civil Rights and Voting Rights experiences. This Oral History Civic Engagement Project involves interviewing the NAUW Forever Emeralds former national presidents, as well as documenting the recognition of the NAUW founder, Mary Church Terrell.

This new program offers students enrolled in our public speaking program to expand their oratorical skills and to embark on a remarkable journey to honor the voices and experiences of senior residents, initially in New Jersey, who witnessed the Civil Rights Era and then interviewing Seniors throughout the nation. The students’ audio and video recordings provide narratives that delved into the stories of the Seniors who navigated the challenges of segregation and dedicated themselves to the fight for equality

In preparation for that NAUW Forever Emeralds “Remembering Their Legacy: An Oral History of our Seniors” national project, we implemented a local Oral History Project involving the interviewing of four local elderly Seniors. The goal of the pilot was to document and trial a framework for our high school Orators to use for the ongoing program addition to the NJO curriculum. Because of the feedback we received from the pilot, we decided to include Oral History Interviews as an addition to our New Jersey Orators oratorical and literacy programming.

This program is a testament to our commitment to preserving the living history of New Jersey and celebrating the stories of those who have played vital roles in shaping our society.

Meet The Interviewees

Mrs. Ida Anderson

A long term, active Piscataway resident who is a lifetime member of the National Council Negro Women and NAACP. Ms. Ida is an 89 year old retired English teacher who attended the “separate but equal” schools of Gloucester, Virginia.

Mrs. Anna Booker

A lifetime member of NAUW Plainfield-Brunswick Branch and an active members of the NAACP. With assistance from NAACP, they filed suit against the Plainfield School District under Brown vs Board of Education Supreme Court ruling to desegregate the Plainfield School District in 1962-1972.

Mother Mary Gordon

An active 103 year old Perth Amboy resident and member of the Cathedral International Church. Her memory is still sharp as she recalls some of her recollections of Civil and Voting Rights in the South as well as in New Jersey.

Mrs. Pinkie Mae Jackson Rodgers

A retired registered nurse and a long term member of the Cathedral International Church in Perth Amboy. She traveled during Jim Crow from Alabama to New Jersey in order to attend training and receive her nursing certification.