ELMIRA, N.Y. (WETM) – To preserve African American history in Twin Tiers, the Historical Society started an oral history program for leaders within the local black community in 1989.

The Historical Society interviewed roughly 20 people about civil rights, the Neighborhood House, black churches and issues within the black community. The society created 29 audio cassette tapes filled with their personal stories and insights.

The tapes were cutting edge back in the day, but throughout the years have not aged well.
Recently, the South Central Regional Library Council granted the Chemung County Historical Society $620, this allows them to share the information from tapes to the community by digitizing them.

These life stories tell decades of how far the Twin Tiers’ African American community has come and how much more history is still in the making.
The tapes are currently being digitized into audiotapes and well be available on at the Chemung County Historical Society’s website.