Watch Excerpts from the 2021 Oral History Projects

by St. Andrew's History Department
The St. Andrew’s Oral History Project is the largest pre-collegiate collection of oral histories in North America, and with the addition of 86 new primary source interviews, it now exceeds 1,500. Click here to learn more about the interviews.
"Doing history” means something different for 11th grade students at St. Andrew’s. Since November, students in History teachers David Brandt and Alex Haight's AP U.S. History and U.S./European History Since 1860 classes preserved and contributed to the largest pre-collegiate oral history archive in the United States. To date, the Oral History Project at St. Andrew’s has collected and preserved more than 1,500 oral histories. This project has been featured in such books as "Dialogue With The Past" and "The Oxford Handbook of Oral History," and has been a model for similar oral history projects throughout the country.

It is only fitting that we end this complex school year by celebrating the work of this group of student oral historians. The 2021 Oral History Celebration not only spotlights the work of each student, but also recognizes the history they have uncovered. Student videos contextualize the history of the event they researched as well as provide direct excerpts from their live interviews.

Gain a new perspective on the past from student interviews of World War II, Korean, Vietnam, and Cold War veterans, civil rights leaders and foot-soldiers, student protestors, survivors of the Great Depression and Holocaust, women who challenged the “feminine mystique,” and immigrants who pursued the American Dream.

The Oral History Project challenges students to practice the skills of a historian. Each 11th grade student identifies an interview subject, writes a scholarly research paper on the historical context of that interviewee's life story, and, through the interview and subsequent transcription, analysis paper, and presentation, creates a primary source to add to the historical record. The collection is publicly accessible and interviews conducted over the past 24 years have even been studied by current students as they complete their Oral History Project.

The Oral History Project at St. Andrew’s began in 1998 and was founded by Glenn Whitman, then a history teacher and now the Dean of Studies and Director of the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning, and author of "Dialogue with the Past: Engaging Students and Meeting Standards through Oral History." Among the more famous past interview subjects are John Glenn, Buzz Aldrin, Colin Powell, Sandra Day O’Connor, Marion Barry, Doug Williams, Peter Berg, Helen Thomas, Charlie Wilson and Pierre Omidyar (St. Andrew’s Class of 1984). Interviews for the oral history project currently reside in the Civil Rights Museum (Ernest Green, one of the Little Rock Nine), and the National Baseball Hall of Fame (Ernest Burke, a former Negro League Player).

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St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a private, coeducational college preparatory day school for students in preschool (Age 2) through grade 12, located in Potomac, Maryland.