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C.V. Starr Center for the


Study of the American Experience

StoryQuest: The Civil Rights Era

During the summer of 2013, StoryQuest students set out to uncover how a pivotal period in American history played out on Maryland’s  Eastern Shore.

By listening to and recording personal stories, an intrepid team of Washington College students explored the Civil Rights Era of the 1950s and 1960s through the eyes of Kent County residents.


The summer workshop included an intensive orientation to oral history at George Mason University, speakers who provided insight into the Civil Rights era, and a series of field trips. Students spent three weeks meeting with local residents and recording their firsthand experiences during the turbulent times of the Civil Rights movement. Interviewees recalled the fight for racial equality, their experiences in segregated schools and workplaces, and close-knit African American communities where they raised their families.


The resulting blog and podcasts attest to the power of personal stories in understanding the past.