Julieanna Richardson interviews Maya Angelou for HistoryMakers.

CBS News

Julieanna Richardson interviews Maya Angelou for HistoryMakers.

HistoryMakers Captures Heart of Black Experience in America

Nine thousand hours of video interviews, which capture the heart of the black experience in America, have been donated to the Library of Congress, reports CBS News.

Some 2,600 African Americans were interviewed by Julieanna Richardson, founder of HistoryMakers, which is a video library of African American history. She told CBS News that donating the collection to the Library of Congress is the fulfillment of a dream.

“This is the only place. You don’t work this hard on a project and not have [it] preserved correctly,” she told CBS News.

Richardson’s interviews are important. Some are with people who would be famous, like then Illinois state senator Barack Obama, who told her 13 years ago that it wasn’t his idea to run for office.

“Some friends of mine came and approached me and said, ‘Look, here’s a vacant seat. Would you be interested?’” Obama said.

Other interviews will keep people’s memories alive, like author Maya Angelou, who was asked what she wants her legacy to be.

“There are those who will say I bring people together, black and white, Asian, Spanish-speaking, Native Americans, gays, straight. It’s true because that [is] what I am. I’m all of that,” she said.

Richardson explained to CBS News who the audience for this project is.

“I want the African American child to understand their roots, but I also want mainstream America to understand the contributions of black people to this country,” she said.

Learn more about the HistoryMakers project here. And watch the CBS News interview with Richardson here.

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