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Bicentennial Oral History Project: Clarke County Schools Before and After Desegregation collection

Collection number: MSS-028

Scope and Contents

The collection contains Oral History recordings from Athens and Atlanta residents documenting Athens life primarily between 1930 and 1970. These recordings were made as part of the Athens Clarke County Library Heritage Room Oral History Project, which took place primarily in 2008-2009. Selected recordings have been backed up on 25 C.D.s, on M-PEG I Audio Layer III (“MP3”) files, and on DVD. Additional duplicated interviews have been removed from the collection, which originally included 64 cassette tapes, according to previous processors. This number seems incorrect as 71 tapes (all duplicates) were removed from the collection in 2020. As of 2020, the collection contains 65 cassette tapes of original interviews, 26 of which await digitization; it also contains 21 cassette copies of original tapes not yet digitized. The tapes kept are the original master recordings and secondary copies of those recordings not backed up on CD or MP3.

The materials contain oral histories from local Athens residents, as well as a few from Atlanta residents who have resided in Athens in the past. Oral histories in this collection seem primarily focused on recording the history of desegregation in Athens, Georgia schools, but contain other details about Athens in related periods. Not all of the interviews directly touch on desegregation. Cassette ACCL CS 003 “A Visit to Chalky Level” is not a direct oral history recording, but has been grandfathered into this collection. The interviews in the collection range from 30 minutes to over 3 hours, spread out over multiple tapes.

Materials that do not fit into the scope of this collection can be found in MSS 072 Oral History and Recordings collection.


  • 2001-2009


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

The original cassette recordings nor the Preservation DVD copies are available to the public when available. Master cassettes are not available to the public when cassette use copies are available. The rest of the collection is open to the public. Library policy on photography and photocopying will apply. Advance notice may be required. Apply in the Heritage Room for access.

Historical note

The Athens Clarke County Oral History Project seems to have been an oral history initiative begun by former head of the Heritage Room, Laura Carter. The project focuses partially on the desegregation of Athens and includes interviews of local school teachers, school employees, and students in the Clarke County school district and at the University of Georgia. Other interviews take a more comprehensive view of Athens-Clarke County history including locations and topics like education, churches, shopping, and others. The interviewees are a variety of Athens-Clarke County locals discussing the 1920s to 2010.

The desegregation of the Clarke County school district and the University of Georgia occurred over the decades of the 1960s and 1970s: UGA in 1961 and Clarke County schools over the subsequent years. The contents of the tapes included in this collection collect a variety of different perspectives from the K-12 schools in Athens-Clarke County, including the slow integration of Athens High School through the 60s before its official desegregation in 1970 and name change to Clarke Central. The collection features local community members interviewed by a rotating group of local Athenians and professional interviewers.


25 Compact Disc (25 compact discs in 1 box)

65 Cassettes (64 cassette tapes in 2 boxes)

25 DVDs (25 DVDs in 2 boxes)


Oral history recordings from local Athenians interviewed by local Athenians in the mid to late 2000s. The interviews are primarily housed on cassette tapes, with some access copies on CD and some preservation copies on DVD. The collection describes the desegregation of Athens K12 and UGA in the mid 1960s. The interviewees also discuss other details about shopping, education, and churches in Athens.


The collection is organized into four series.

Series I: Cassette Master Tapes Series II: CD Copies Series III: DVD Preservation Copies Series IV: Cassette Backup Tapes

Related Materials

Rendezvous With Destiny: The World War II Oral History Project, MSS 008, Heritage Room, Athens-Clarke County Library

Athens-Clarke County Library Recordings collection, MSS 072, Heritage Room, Athens-Clarke County Library.


Enghauser, Audrey. “Echoes of integration.” Odyssey Media Group, Clarke Central High School, Athens, GA. 7 March 2020.

Materials Specific Details

Cassettes, DVDs, CDs

Physical Description


  • 1 cassette tape of interview with Charles Beard. (ACCL CS 051)
  • 2 cassette tapes of interview and interview copy with Julia Cook Brackett. (ACCL CS 050, 074)
  • Master tape for Hal Cofer interview.
Bicentennial Oral History Project: Clarke County Schools Before and After Desegregation collection
Angela Stanley, August 2016; Mikaela LaFave, October 2021
August 2016; January 2021
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2020-11-25: Matched records with documentation, removed records with no documentation, added new accessions.

Repository Details

Part of the Heritage Room, Athens-Clarke County Library Repository

2025 Baxter Street
Athens GA 30606