The Duke University Oral History Program Collection contains 238 oral history interviews conducted by project participants in the years 1973-1978 and 1992. The majority of the oral history interviews deal with the civil rights movement in North Carolina, especially Durham, Chapel Hill, and Greensboro. Additionally, thirteen interviews deal with the Tulsa Race Riots, and fourteen interviews cover miscellaneous North Carolina topics. The collection also includes transcripts and research files related to the civil rights movement in North Carolina.
The collection is arranged in three series: Audiotapes, Transcripts, and Research Files. The Audiotapes Series consists of two identical sets of audiocassettes, one closed for preservation purposes and one open for researchers. The North Carolina Civil Rights Movement tapes, which make up the bulk of the series, include extensive interviews with Ella Baker, as well as hundreds of interviews with lesser-known but nonetheless important figures from the local movements in Greensboro, Durham, Chapel Hill, Weldon, and Monroe, N.C. The Tulsa Race Riots tapes include interviews conducted by Scott Ellsworth for his study Death in the Promised Land: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921. The North Carolina Miscellaneous tapes include an interview with Alex Haley about his critically-acclaimed book, Roots, as well as conversations about such topics as the state's agricultural history and mountain culture in Western North Carolina. The Transcripts Series includes eighty transcripts, as well as some interview notes, corresponding to tapes dealing with the North Carolina civil rights movement. The Research Files Series contains six files of background material related to the civil rights movement in North Carolina, including articles and speeches by Governor Terry Sanford and a bibliography of material dealing with the Durham sit-ins, and one file listing tapes and transcripts in the collection.