The ongoing Family History Portfolio (FHP) interviews began in 2001 as project-based learning assignments for students in Dr. Jeannette F. Ford’s African American History classes, to research contemporary events through intergenerational dialogue and reflection. We follow the guidelines and best practices of the International Oral History Association. This semester-long assignment guides students to plan, research, create questions, conduct the interview, transcribe and reflect upon conversations with family elders, or other individuals over the age of 60. These individuals reveal events in their lives that touch upon remembrances of family, struggles for equality, major and minor events and interactions, social and community history, religion, politics, and, offer advice for young people today.

Learning outcomes require students to listen and learn from others, cultivate skills to evaluate historical perspectives and explanations about African American History, write clearly, economically, imaginatively and persuasively about historical facts, issues and interpretations. Each completed FHP is identified by a code and includes Field Notes, Verbatim Transcript, Reflection Paper, and Selected Quotes. Students are provided some questions and they research to create additional questions uniquely suited to their interviewee.

The FHP projects represent the thoughtful work of well over a thousand BCU students and interviewees. Since 2001, students in the Bethune Cookman College School of Social Sciences, now Bethune Cookman University College of Liberal Arts courses, specifically Oral History and African American History, have continuously studied the vision and impact of Mary McLeod Bethune as well as the rich history of Bethune Cookman University and blacks in Florida.

We are indebted for the arrangement between the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and Bethune-Cookman University to place Robert F. Smith Fund interns offsite at BCU. We invite suggestions and advice on our projects.

Featured Portfolios

Maximay-Peters, Char-D'Nea'Finding out about family ancestry is significant. It is fundamental to getting ourselves and essential humankind and assorted variety. Family ancestry likewise keeps recollections alive and enable every age to have a thought of their identity and where they originate from.



Project Created By Dr. Jeannette Ford, Associate Professor. Produced & Edited by Maurice Hendricks - Robert Frederick Smith Fund Intern Summer 2019. Narrated by Maurice Hendricks.