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Community Organizer Genealogy Project oral history interviews

Historical note

The Center for Community Change was created in 1968 as the first project of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation. The Center’s mission is to build the power and capacity of low-income people, especially low-income people of color, to change their communities and the public policies that affect their lives. In the beginning, the CCC worked with six community groups in California, Illinois, Mississippi and New Jersey to provide technical assistance, organizational development, planning and fundraising, and hands-on help with community organizing campaigns in their neighborhoods. They expanded quickly and have worked with hundreds of grassroots groups and networks of low-income people that represent the diverse communities of low-income people in the United States: urban, suburban and rural geographies that are home to low-income African American, Latino, Asian, Native American, and white communities, as well as immigrants from around the world. They focus on jobs and wages, immigration, retirement security, affordable housing, access to nutritious food, racial justice and barriers to employment for formerly incarcerated individuals.

In 2007, they began working on the Community Organizer Genealogy Project to "document the development of community organizing, the development of individual organizers and the connections among organizers, organizations and networks." Don Elmer led the project. They collected interviews and information from community organizers from 2008-2010. The main products were the 100 oral history interviews and a website that provided information about each person, mapped the connections between them, and video clips from the interviews.