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Have you checked out the A.P. Marshall African American Oral History Archive? This project, launched in 2017, is a collection of interviews by A.P. Marshall of Ypsilanti residents who lived through the Jim Crow era, fought racism during WWII, and led the local Civil Rights movement.

Learn more below about A.P. Marshall and what else you can explore in the archives. You can explore other great YDL databases here.

Who was A.P. Marshall?

Born in 1914, Albert Prince Marshall was a librarian and historian. Marshall moved to Ypsilanti in 1969 from Missouri to teach library science at EMU, direct EMU’s library, and serve as the Dean of Academic Services. After retiring in 1980, Marshall began documenting the histories of Black Ypsilantians through recorded interviews. Those interviews have become the A.P. Marshall African American Oral History Archive.

What you’ll find

The A.P. Marshall African American History Archive has many resources to explore, such as:

Explore the oral histories of 37 Black Ypsilantians through interviews by A.P. Marshall. Pictured is Eugene Beatty, an athlete and teacher. Beatty talks to Marshall about nearly competing in the Olympics, teaching in segregated Ypsilanti schools, and organizing to elect the first Black city council members in Ypsilanti.
Join 5 life-long Ypsilanti residents on a tour of the historic South Side. Many of the names and buildings mentioned in Marshall’s interviews are discussed in the tour.
Discover your local history using a records search of the Ypsilanti Commercial newspaper. It is important to note that this newspaper catered to white and Protestant males during its run. Women, children, people of color, and those within other religious sects may find less information listed in the vital records of their relatives and ancestors.