Elizabeth "Jean" Upshaw has vivid memories of growing up black in Clarksville, Ark. She shared those memories with a television crew for the History Channel’s program Save Our History "Voices of Civil Rights," which will air Saturday, Feb. 12 at 7 p.m.
Upshaw’s story has also been inducted into the U.S. Library of Congress, in a collection that makes up the country's largest archive of oral histories of the Civil Rights Movement. She recently received a letter and certificate confirming this honor, which she has since framed.
Upshaw, a Gary resident and secretary for the Urban Teacher Education Program UTEP) at the university, was attending an AARP conference in Chicago last August when a film crew from the History Channel approached the group. She said she volunteered to tell her story, not expecting it to receive this much attention.
"Everybody has a story to tell, I can only tell things that I remember as a child, but what I remember sticks with me. Even today," Upshaw said.
According to the History Channel’s Web site, the Save Our History "Voices of Civil Rights" program is a personal look into the Civil Rights Movement. Dozens of small stories are told through personal recollections of men, women and children living through this turbulent time. Journalists, photographers and videographers collected a wealth of material during a 70-day bus trip across the United States.
The Web site explains, "What emerges as people tell us their stories is not a textbook history lesson, but a series of intimate themes that define and humanize the movement's growth and trajectory. We also provide a ‘big picture’ of what was going on in the country during each period in the movement, from the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education decision to the assassination of Martin Luther King."
Save Our History is The History Channel's Emmy-winning national campaign dedicated to historic preservation and history education. For more information, please visit the Save Our History Web site at: www.saveourhistory.com.
For more information about Jean Upshaw’s experience please contact the IU Northwest Office of Marketing and Communications at (219) 980-6802.