Guest Series: African-American women during the activist movements of the 1950s-1970s

In this series of curated posts, the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB) invites researchers, educators, industry professionals and collaborators to highlight the diversity of topics, interests, and perspectives preserved and made accessible in the public radio and television collections of the AAPB.

Please welcome guest curator Marine Robbez, a French graduate student earning a Master’s degree in English with a specialization in American Civilization:

I am currently writing a thesis on the representation of African-American women during the activist movements from 1954 up until 1979. Living in France, having access to such important and interesting public radio and television archives is almost impossible. We have many research opportunities to review papers, essays, pamphlets and the like, however, original public media resources are scarce.

Thanks to the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB), I have been able to go deeper into my research and study how American’s lived their activism by listening to the testimonies preserved in the AAPB collection. I am therefore genuinely grateful for the preservation and the wide variety of collections available through the AAPB platform, and the extensive work that has been, and is still made, to digitize these historic programs.

Below is a selection of programs I viewed in relation to my thesis on African-American women during the activist movements of the 1950s -1970s.

1. “Fannie Lou Hamer Interview,” 1965, Pacifica Radio Archives

Fannie Lou Hamer, voting and women’s rights activist, community organizer, and a leader in the civil rights movement, is interviewed on the her life, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, voting rights, human rights, and politics.

Listen to the radio program at

Image: Fannie Lou Hamer, 1964, Wikipedia

2. “Woman; 025; Black Women,” 1973, WNED

This episode from WNED’s *Woman series features a conversation with Dorothy Pitman Hughes and Julia Van Metre. Hughes is a feminist, African American activist, co-founder of Ms. Magazine, and child welfare advocate. Van Metre is a nurse and student of psychology. The women discuss racism and sexism that black women face every day. Watch the full interview online at

*Woman Series CollectionWoman is a talk show featuring in-depth conversations exploring issues affecting the lives of women. The Woman Series Special Collection consists of 197 episodes of the Woman series produced by WNED in Buffalo, New York from 1972-1977. View the full collection at

3. Eyes on the Prize; America, They Loved You Madly; Interview with Jo Ann Robinson, 1979

This filmed interview with Jo Ann Robinson was conducted for America, They Loved You Madly, a precursor to the *Eyes on the Prize documentary. The discussion centers on the Montgomery Bus Boycott and her involvement in the Women’s Political Council.

*Eyes on the Prize Interview Collection – The Eyes on the Prize I Interviews Collection consists of 127 raw interviews conducted with participants in the American Civil Rights movement, covering the years from the mid-1950s through to 1965. View the full collection at

Are you interested in participating in the Guest Curation series? Email us at!

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