Samuel Proctor Oral History Program Mission

The award-winning Samuel Proctor Oral History Program is the oral history program of the University of Florida. Since our founding in 1967, we have conducted nearly 7,000 interviews. More than 150,000 pages of transcribed material from these interviews may be found in the SPOHP archives and Digital Collections at the University of Florida.

Our mission is to gather, preserve, and promote living histories of individuals from all walks of life.

Oral history puts students in direct dialog with individuals and groups who have changed the world. The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program teaches students, independent scholars, and community organizations how to bring history to life. Oral history is an interdisciplinary methodology that draws on ethnography, literature, social theory, and memory studies—among other academic fields. SPOHP emphasizes rigorous collaborative research, civic engagement, digital technology, and other techniques that make history accessible, democratic and fun. SPOHP engages students, scholars, and local communities throughout the world in gathering, preserving, and promoting living history through academic publications, public programs, electronic media and other forums in order to document the human condition.

SPOHP also teaches the craft and intellectual traditions of oral history through university seminars as well as through community-based workshops. In addition, SPOHP consults on an ongoing basis with local historians, civic leaders, and educators in Florida and beyond who are interested in initiating oral history projects in their towns and municipalities. SPOHP is committed to engaging in the scholarly and educational life of the University of Florida and our state, as well as the broader world through public history programs, academic conferences, and scholarly collaborations.

–Spring 2016

The Samuel Proctor Oral History Program: One Community, Many Voices.



mfpOral History Association Elizabeth B. Mason Award, 2015

In Fall 2015, the Oral History Association recognized the mini-grant partnership between SPOHP and George A. Smathers Libraries for the “Freedom Summer Oral History and Library Curation Project” in 2013-2014 with its 2015 Elizabeth B. Mason Award for outstanding research accomplishments. Coordinator Sarah Blanc accepted the award in October 2015 with project staff member Diana Dombrowski at the OHA conference in Tampa, FL.

The Oral History Association serves as the principal membership organization for people committed to the value of oral history. With an international membership, OHA serves a broad and diverse audience including teachers, students, community historians, archivists, librarians, and filmmakers. In addition to fostering communication among its members, the OHA encourages standards of excellence in the collection, preservation, dissemination and uses of oral testimony.

The Mississippi Freedom Project is an archive of oral history interviews conducted with veterans of the civil rights movement and notable residents of the Mississippi Delta, centering on activism and organizing in partnership with the Sunflower County Civil Rights Organization in Sunflower, Mississippi. The 2013-2014 grant with Smathers Libraries enabled SPOHP to process and finalize over 100 transcripts for the University of Florida Digital Collections, and the creation of Wikipedia project guide.

For more information about this collection, visit the Mississippi Freedom Project.


IMG_0055Society of American Archivists Diversity Award, 2015

In Spring 2015, the Society of American Archivists recognized SPOHP’s ongoing commitment to social justice research initiatives, including the recent Latina/o Diaspora in the Americas Project, with the 2015 Diversity Award. Founding coordinator Génesis Lara accepted the award in August 2015 at the SAA conference in Cleveland, OH.

The Society of American Archivists is one of the largest academic professional associations in North America, with over 5,000 individual and institutional members. The Diversity Award recognizes outstanding contributions in advancing diversity within the archives profession, SAA, or the archival record. Awardees demonstrate significant achievement in the form of activism, education, outreach, publication, service, or other initiatives in the archives field based on the long-term impact on promoting diversity.

Each semester, LDAP conducts new oral histories related to Latinos in the Global South on themes including identity, immigration reform, labor conditions, education and civil rights. Major topics of focus include immigration history in the Americas, Nuestras Historias with Hispanic-Latino UF alumni, and the Tucson Ethnic Studies program.

For more information about this collection, visit the Latina/o Diaspora in the Americas Project.


2014 Siempre Adelante AwardUniversity of Florida Institute of Hispanic/Latino Cultures Best Cultural Event Award, 2014

In April 2014, UF’s Institute of Hispanic/Latino Cultures awarded SPOHP “Best Cultural Event” at the annual Noche de Gala ceremony for production of the documentary, “Siempre Adelante: A Look at Faith and the Immigrant Struggle.”

The Institute of Hispanic/Latino Cultures advocates on behalf of Hispanic Latina/o populations and offers support to the University of Florida and the Gainesville community through various programs, resources, and networking opportunities in order to help facilitate cultural awareness, social justice, and empowerment.

The documentary “Siempre Adelante,” produced by SPOHP Technology Coordinator Deborah Hendrix and Sebastian X. Muñoz-Medina. The film sheds light on the immigrant community of Alachua County and the daily struggles they encounter, aiming to inspire audiences to participate in the movement for immigrant rights and to inform the Gainesville community of the struggle that occurs so close to home.

For more information about this collection, visit the Latina/o Diaspora in the Americas Project.


june 2014 oha2013Oral History Association Stetson Kennedy Vox Populi (“Voice of the People”) Award, 2013

In October 2013, the Samuel Proctor Oral History Program was recognized by the Oral History Association with the Stetson Kennedy Vox Populi (“Voice of the People”) Award for outstanding achievement in using oral history to create a more humane and just world.

Teaching partner Falana McDaniels, of the McComb Legacies Project at McComb High School in Mississippi, was also awarded the Martha Ross Teaching Award.

The Stetson Kennedy Vox Populi (“Voice of the People”) annual award is presented each year at the OHA annual meeting, and honors individuals and organizations who use oral history as a means of furthering social justice as well as those collecting oral histories of social justice advocates. Named in honor of Stetson Kennedy, a pioneer oral historian whose work has been an important tool for advocacy on behalf of human rights, the Vox Populi Award was created to recognize work that has made a difference in the world, while advancing our sense of the power of oral history in the process.

SPOHP was awarded the Vox Populi award for a broad array of outreach and research initiatives, including public history programs, our community-based workshops, and SPOHP’s podcast series exploring the perspectives of organizers, anti-war veterans, immigrant activists, and reformers. SPOHP preserves the personal narratives of previously marginalized communities such as Seminole, Cherokee, Creek, and Lumbee Indians in the southeastern United States, and also promotes the experiences working people in the South, including organizers of Mississippi’s civil rights movement, laborers in the citrus industry, physical plant operatives, water management engineers, nurses, teachers, and active members of various labor unions in Right-to-Work Florida.

The award is co-sponsored by the Stetson Kennedy Foundation, a non-profit foundation dedicated to human rights, racial and social justice, environmental stewardship, and the preservation and growth of folk culture.

For additional information, contact SPOHP, call the offices at (352) 392-7168, and connect with us online today.