The human side of history

Most people know about Fort Worth’s cowboy past.

It’s hard to overlook when the city’s logo features a longhorn steer.

But there are multiple layers to Cowtown’s rich and vibrant history, including the prominent role it played in the civil rights movement.

That history, as told by the men and women who experienced it, is the focus of a new collaborative effort by TCU, the University of Texas at Arlington and the University of North Texas.

Thanks to a $200,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, students and staff from the participating schools will work to collect and preserve the personal memories of Mexican-Americans, African-Americans and Anglo activists during the civil rights era in Texas.

The project, called “Civil Rights in Black and Brown: Oral Histories of the Multiracial Freedom Struggle in Texas,” will help ensure that the personal histories and individual experiences, so often left out of the history books and school curriculum, are not forgotten but recorded and shared.

A free multimedia website will allow historians and others to access the more than 400 oral and video histories expected to complete the project.

Those voices deserve to be heard and preserved.