African American Heritage Initiative (AAHI) Virtual Orientation

This page includes a series of videos that will tell you more about the African American Heritage Initiative and how you can contribute to this worthy effort! You will also find answers to frequently asked questions and a link for submitting questions not addressed on this page.

Have  Question?
Please email us at

Welcome to Winston-Salem AAHI Video

The Importance of Community

How You Can Get Involved: Collections Teams

an Oral History

Nuts & Bolts

If you are still having trouble after checking for both of these issues, send us an email to

For all drop off submissions please print and fill out this form
AAHI Form Link


I’m ready to help! What can I do?
Join one of our collection teams! Team members reach out to folks they know and guide them through the process of submitting photos, stories, documents and interviews to the initiative’s online archive. The AAHI committee is organizing nine collection teams. Each team is led by a member of the AAHI committee and will be responsible for capturing the history in a particular area. Go to the list of collection teams and their leaders.

If I join a collection team, how much do I have to do?
You can do as much or as little as your schedule or level of interest allows. We are grateful for any and all efforts to help us accomplish our mission of preserving the African American experience in Winston-Salem.

Can I be on more than one collection team at a time?

What are you collecting?
We are looking for anything that helps tells the everyday history of Winston-Salem’s African American community during the years of segregation:

  • Photos:
    Not just of civil-rights-related events, but of church picnics, family reunions, neighborhoods, sporting events, etc.
  • Documents:
    Programs for school graduations, debutant balls, class reunions, concerts;  documents of historical interest or signed by significant people; etc.
  • Stories (Either written or recorded):
    Anecdotes and memories of life in Winston-Salem. We’re interested not only in memories of events of community-wide interest (for example, the visit here by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.) but also, stories that provide a window into everyday life for the Winston-Salem’s African American population during segregation and the years of desegregation (for example, recollection of a family trip or of going to a movie theater).

What other resources can I consult to help me?
Oral History Resources page of the Southern Oral History Program 
Resources page of the American Association for State and Local History

Why won’t my file upload on the submission portal?
The chief reasons that a file does not upload on the submission portal are that it is either too big, or it is not a format that the portal accepts.

File size:
Make sure you file is no larger than 250 MB. That is the maximum size limit for uploads.

Make sure you file is in one of these formats: jpg, pdf, mp3, mp4, doc, docx, xls, xlsx, mov.

If you are still having trouble after checking for both of these issues, send us an email to

My oral history file is larger than 250 MB. What do I do?
You have two options:

  1. Send the file using a file transfer service
  2. Put it on a thumb drive and deliver it to us.

File transfer service.
Securely Send, at is free and easy to use. Simply input an email, upload your file, and click "Send It". Securely Send lets you send files up to 2 gigabytes.

If you use this option, be sure to also upload a submission form. A link to fillable PDF of the submission form is posted on the main AAHI web page. Fill it out, save to your computer and upload with the video file.

You can also send large files through Hightail or Drop box if you have a paid account with them. The free versions are not practical because they restrict the size of the files you can send.

Drop it on of on a thumb drive:
All thumb drives must be accompanied by a submission for. Fill out the form, print it and put it and the thumb drive in an envelope with “AAHI” printed on it and drop it off:

  • At either of the city’s drive-through payment windows at the Stuart Municipal Building (Facility Info Link) or the Black Phillips Smith Government Center (Facility Info Link)
  • In the payments drop box where you pay your water bill in person inside the Stuart Building; or
  • In the night depository on the Church Street side of the Stuart Building.

I can’t join a collection team but I have a good story that should be preserved. What should I do?
Send us an email at Someone will get in touch with you and arrange to get your story.

How can I get my items scanned?
All branch libraries have copy machines that work like a scanner to scan documents into PDF files. It is self-services, free of charge. Ask the staff to help you if you need any help.

To scan larger items, larger scanners are available at the Central Library (336-703-3050) and the Walkertown (336-703-2990) and Lewisville (336-703-2940) branch libraries.

***Please call the day you go before you go to make sure the equipment is working.***

My family has played a significant role in the community. Can you interview us as a group or just individually?
Group interviews are acceptable, as long as not too many people – no more than five – are in the group and all the participants are identified. But as general rule, oral histories work much better when just one person is being interviewed. If you do decide to record a group interview, please ensure the participants don’t talk over each other. It is also ok if people remember things differently and are welcome to share the same memory as they recall it.

I am a member of a local organization. Must I have their permission to share my memories?
No. Your memories belong to you!

I was a member of a planning committee at a church I used to attend. I have some pictures of the event. Can I submit them without getting the church’s permission?
If you took the pictures, then you are free to submit them. If the photographs were taken by another church member, you should ask their permission to submit them. If the photographs were taken by a professional photographer hired for the event, then you have to get permission to submit them.

The submission form requires that I certify that an item is not protected by copyright. How can I tell if something is copyrighted?
Look to see if the item says that it is copyrighted. You may see a statement that something is copyrighted, naming the year and the organization that holds the copyright. For example: “Copyright 1995 XYZ Corp.” Sometimes this statement makes use of the © copyright symbol. You may also see a publisher’s or photographer’s mark or logo. However, some items can be protected by copyright even when there is no indication of such on the item. If you can find no evidence that something is protected, our policy is to allow you to submit the item. But please know that if you submit a document or photograph that is later determined to be protected by copyright, we reserve to right to not publish it to the AAHI website or to remove it if it has been published to the AAHI website upon the owner of the copyright asking us to do so.

My parents, now deceased, had some professional looking photos but I don’t know who took them or the photographer is now deceased. Can I still submit them?
Please see our answer above regarding items protected by copyright.