The Griots of Oakland: Voices from the African American Oral History Project

The Griots project was by far the most impactful exhibit we’ve put up. It is a stunning collection of photographs, student empowerment and thought provoking story telling. But what made it even more powerful were the ways the exhibit impacted the employees in the building. I had numerous employees, especially African American employees come up to me and thank me for displaying the faces and voices of young African American males. They told me about how it made them proud to work at a place that was brave enough to show real support for young black males, and they told me about how happy they were to see young boys and men telling their own stories – stories that are so different from the way the media portrays African American youth. The overwhelming gratitude for the project reaffirmed for me the power of shared experiences in the arts to strengthen communities. Thank you!”  
~Ray Cagan, Arts Learning Coordinator, Alameda County Office of Education

The Story of the African American Oral History Project

Griots of Oakland Opening Event

Project description

Goal: Uplift the voices of African American male youth in Oakland to raise awareness about their reality and change the discourse on how they are perceived.

Story Collecting:

  • Project design, management and facilitation
  • Training in oral history, videography, and African American history
  • Conduct and record 100+ peer-to-peer interviews with African American youth in Oakland
  • Photography of interview subjects and process

Story Sharing:

Contact us to replicate this project in your community