The Voices and Experiences of Sewanee’s Black and Brown Graduates

A joint public history initiative of the Benjamin Network and the Roberson Project on Slavery, Race, and Reconciliation
Launched February 2023

At the second annual gathering in February 2023 of the Benjamin Network, Sewanee’s affinity organization of Black and Brown alumni, the Roberson Project enlisted a team of current undergraduate students to collect oral histories from returning graduates. We undertook this initiative in partnership with the Network. We aimed to collect oral records of graduates’ college and post-college days. What, we asked, did they wish to be remembered about those times? We also gave them the opportunity to reflect on their experiences as students of color at a storied southern PWI (predominantly white institution). We hope to continue collecting oral histories at future reunions.

The student oral historians recorded eleven individual or group interviews from fifteen graduates from the 1980s and later. The Roberson Project and the Benjamin Network are grateful to the undergraduates who donated their time and energy to get training in oral histories and then to collect them. We also are thankful for the Sewanee graduates who donated their memories and stories to this archive and our joint effort to “Save Sewanee Black History” for future generations.

We invite you to listen to these interviews. Although comparatively few in number, they are an unparalleled record of undergraduate experience. You also may follow along with a written transcript. However, we alert you that the transcripts are “machine generated” and unedited. They certainly include errors in spelling and transcription, and we apologize for them. We make the transcriptions available for your convenience, but the audio recordings are the definitive record.

These recordings are publicly accessible, but they may not be copied, quoted, or used in any form without the express written permission of the Roberson Project and of the interviewed person, who retains all rights to these materials.