May 17, 2022

University of Florida Unveils Joel Buchanan Archive of African American Oral History

From the Gainesville Sun:

The late Joseph “Joel” Marcus Buchanan was known to be a man of many words, especially when it came to the history of blacks in Gainesville and Alachua County, and on Friday at the University of Florida George A. Smathers Library he was honored with the unveiling of the Joel Buchanan Archive of African American Oral History.

“The Joel Buchanan Archive of African American Oral History will be one of the largest digital public access collections of oral histories in the United States,” said Stephanie Birch, the African American Studies librarian at UF. “It will be large in size and broad in scope.”

The collection of oral histories in the archives is available here.


Buchanan was the first black male student to attend Gainesville High School in 1964, when he and two black female students, Sandra Williams Cummings and LaVon Wright Bracy, crossed the segregated school line in Alachua County. In 1966, Buchanan graduated from GHS with honors, and went on to graduate in the early 1970s from UF with a bachelor’s degree. He also earned a master’s degree at UF.

He retired in 2010 as a history liaison at the UF Smathers Library Special Collections Department after a professional career that included stints as a teacher at Howard Bishop Middle School and Santa Fe College. He also worked in the UF financial aid office.

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