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Baltimore Sixty-Eight Riots Collection

 Collection — Box: 8
Identifier: R0142-BSR

Scope and Content Note

The Baltimore Sixty-Eight Riots Collection contains 68 oral history interviews conducted for the "Baltimore '68: Riots and Rebirth" project, as well as notes, interview materials, correspondence and oral history interview forms. The interviews were produced by UBalt students and others working with Professors Elizabeth Nix, Jessica Elfenbein, and Thomas Hollowak. Project documentation materials include student scrapbooks and research portfolios, photocopies of historic newspaper coverage, and conference event buttons and posters. Of the 68 interviews, 66 include text transcripts of each interview and 12 interviews include digital audio recordings. The oral history interviews in this collection were conducted between 2006 and 2008 in the Baltimore, Maryland region by University of Baltimore students and partners for the project led by UB Professors Elizabeth Nix, Jessica Elfenbein, and Thomas Hollowak. The interviews were conducted with a diverse group of individuals who were present in Baltimore in 1968 and who shared their experiences during the time before, during, and after the riots in Baltimore. Interviewees included both Black and white families, business owners, public officials, National Guardsmen, teachers, ministers, teenagers, housewives, and community members. A number of well-known public figures and individuals participated in interviews for this project, including Thomas D'Alesandro III (43rd mayor of Baltimore, 1967-1971), William Donald Schaefer (Baltimore City Council president in 1968, 44th mayor of Baltimore, 1971-1987, and the 58th Governor of Maryland, 1987-1995), Marvin Mandel (56th Governor of Maryland, 1969 – 1979), Nia Redmond, Thomas Ward, Rev. Marion C. Bascom, Chester Wickwire, and Melvin Douglas Williams ("Little Melvin" Williams). Interviews in this collection discuss topics such as the loss of homes and businesses, community and individual experiences, the death of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., looting, and police interactions.


  • circa 2006-2008


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. This collection contains digital materials that have been made available online through this finding aid.

Conditions Governing Use

Rights for this collection are held by the University of Baltimore. It makes these materials publicly available for research, personal, and educational purposes.

Historical Note

The "Baltimore '68: Riots and Rebirth" project was a series of public events held at the University of Baltimore in 2008 to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Baltimore's civil unrest in the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The primary component of this public programming was an academic conference, held April 3-5, 2008, which examined the effects of the riots and brought together various stakeholders from the Baltimore community. The project also included oral history interviews created between 2006 and 2008, a community arts mural, and a public history website with archival source documentation. "Baltimore '68: Riots and Rebirth" was awarded the Outstanding Public History Project Award from the National Council on Public History in 2009. The project was led by Elizabeth Nix, Jessica Elfenbein, and Thomas Hollowak.

In the fall of 2006 undergraduate students in Dr. Elizabeth Nix's University of Baltimore history class, "The New South and Civil Rights" began conducting interviews about the urban disturbances of April 1968. Students interviewed a diverse group of informants, including business owners, families, National Guardsmen, teachers, ministers, and other community members, whose experiences in 1968 during the riots varied.

Students made audio and video recordings and transcribed the interviews between 2006 and 2008. Students in the “Exploring the Past” University of Baltimore class in the fall of 2007 conducted additional interviews and researched the context of the times for the project. Student interns including Nyasha Chikowore, Maria Paoletti and Duane Howard and Nora Feinstein continued the project in 2007 and 2008. UB staff member John Schwallenberg contributed to the process of completing interviews, creating transcriptions, and editing.

In the spring of 2007, WYPR, Baltimore's NPR affiliate and a media sponsor of "Baltimore '68: Riots and Rebirth," joined UB in a partnership for the oral history project. WYPR provided equipment, studio time and the interviewing expertise of senior news professionals, Fraser Smith and Sunni Khalid, in an effort to capture the memories of Baltimoreans who held public office or represented distinct constituencies during the disturbances. The online product of the "Baltimore '68: Riots and Rebirth" project can be found at the project website, linked to this finding aid.

[Information for this historical note was gathered from previous collection description and from the project website:]


6.75 Linear Feet (9 containers)


Collection is arranged in five series:

  • Oral History Interviews, circa 2006-2008
  • Student Projects from History 300: Exploring the Past
  • Historic Newspaper Coverage, 1968
  • Conference Materials, 2008
  • Records Transfer from Dr. Elizabeth Nix, accessioned March 9, 2023
The Oral History Interviews series (circa 2006-2008) is arranged alphabetically by the last name of the interviewee. The Student Projects series is arranged alphabetically by student name. The Newspaper Coverage series is arranged chronologically, then alphabetically by publication name.

Custodial History

This collection was created by members of the University of Baltimore faculty members, Elizabeth Nix, Jessica Elfenbein, and Thomas Hollowak, and added to Special Collections and Archives in 2008 by Thomas Hollowak.

Accessing Digital Copies

Digital versions of 12 oral history interviews and all 67 oral history interview text transcripts in this collection are available online through this finding aid. Locate records by using the "Print" button above, or browse records in “Collection Organization." Records with associated digital objects are identified with a red Digital Object icon.

Separated Materials

Student grades and narrative evaluations from 2007 coursework was separated from Series 2 and added to the collection administrative file.

Processing Information

Series 1 processed by Laura Bell and Fatemeh Rezaei in 2020. Series 2-4 processed by Aiden Faust in 2022. Series 5 is uninventoried.


Baltimore Sixty-Eight Riots Collection
Finding aid created by Aiden Faust (2015). Revised by Fatemeh Rezaei and Laura Bell (2020). Revised by Aiden Faust (2022-2023).
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Baltimore Studies Archives Repository

H. Mebane Turner Learning Commons, Room 104
1415 Maryland Avenue
Baltimore Maryland 21201 USA