The HistoryMakers

The HistoryMakers Digital Archive

Case Western Reserve University’s partnership with “The HistoryMakers” provides students, faculty and staff with access to thousands of African-American oral history videos, including information highlighting the university and its alumni.

The university was the first organization in Cleveland to have access to the collection. The subscription is funded by the university’s Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusive Engagement and the Kelvin Smith Library.

Established in 1999, HistoryMakers is the world’s largest African-American oral-history video archive. “Recorded in over 413 cities and towns across the country (and international locations like Norway and Mexico), the video oral histories in the collection, and in The HistoryMakers Digital Archive, range from 90 minutes to 15 hours in length, and are housed permanently at the Library of Congress…” (

Members of the CWRU community can access the digital material through Kelvin Smith Library's research guide and then selecting “HistoryMakers Digital Archive.”

Others can access the HistoryMakers archives by visiting their website. A subscription is required to access the digital library and streaming videos. The digital streaming videos are also available to community members who visit the Kelvin Smith Library during regular business hours.

Please note: The contract for this service ends on June 30, 2021. However, the service will remain available to Cleveland Public Library cardholders through their databases.