A colonial-style brick building shopfront has a embedded signage reading Gunter-Smith Center for Community Engagement, followed by the York College of Pennsylvania logo.

Keystones Oral Histories Collaboration

Help to tell a more inclusive version of history

York College of Pennsylvania’s Center for Community Engagement (CCE) and Keystones Oral Histories series are partnering to raise awareness of the rightful place of veterans of color in the historic military legacy of York County’s history. 

This community-based learning project offers opportunities to students across a wide variety of disciplines. History majors can help discover untold stories, and so not just learn, but make history. Education majors can help update curricula in ways that help a diverse student body learn about their own culture’s place in York County history. Communications majors are learning from professionals about how to produce, film, and edit video narratives. And Business majors can learn how the business of filmmaking and non-profit entities work.  Whatever your major, you can find a place in this project.

By participating in this mutually beneficial collaboration, you will engage in the hands-on learning that York College is committed to, while lending your talent, time, and innovative ideas to a worthwhile community effort.

In 2020, York College and its Center for Community Engagement (CCE) formed a partnership with Keystones Oral Histories to raise awareness of the rightful place of veterans of color in the military legacy of York County’s history.
Mass Communication majors Heather Fiore ‘22, Mykela Heidel ‘22, and Morrissey Walsh ‘23 filmed and edited this video interview about WWI veteran George A. Wood in collaboration with Keystones Oral Histories.


We believe that:
  • The history of a community that we tell should be inclusive of all of its residents.
  • The sacrifice made by military veterans, including veterans of color, deserves to be remembered.
  • Students who participate in writing our history will also be those who best understand history.
  • Future teachers who participate in diversity-aware projects will help their future students be more diversity-aware as well.
  • The work of diversity, equity, and inclusion is mutually beneficial for our students and the community.

Learn MoreFrequently Asked Questions

  • How did the project begin?

    Bryan Wade—a York College alumnus—completed and screened a documentary tribute to African American servicemen and women from the Harrisburg area in 2017. In addition to filming the documentary, he and his team began utilizing an oral history approach with curricula that facilitates and enhances opportunities to learn these stories. Wade has now shifted his focus to York County—in 2020, he connected with the York College Center for Community Engagement to explore opportunities for collaboration.

  • What are the short-term goals?

    The Keystones Oral Histories is interviewing African-American veterans and/or their families to collect oral/video narratives that demonstrate their role in York County—and American history. These interviews will be: 

    • Developed into a film tribute to that important work.
    • Used to create curriculum modules to be implemented in York County schools to educate young people about the role of diverse peoples in our history.
  • What are the next steps?

    It has already been made clear that there are a wealth of untold stories. Keystones Oral Histories, along with York College students, will continue to do research to uncover these stories, and produce short, companion video narratives that tell some of those stories. They will also document the process of “making history” in this collaborative effort, demonstrating the place of personal and family histories in our understanding of the past and present.

    We also imagine that classes at York College might take on this work as community-based projects so students can learn by doing.

  • Who will be involved?

    Already, students in video production are conducting interviews and producing short videos that feature the families of African-American veterans. Education students are working with Dr. Sherry Washington to develop curriculum for our schools. And Public History majors are being invited to help to research the role of people of color in our York County history. They will work along side the Keystones team, the York History Center, and other institutions to both support this project and build their own personal list of accomplishments. The York College Center for Community Engagement is leading this effort.

  • What are the longer-term goals?

    This is a long-term project. Keystones will continue to produce a number of films featuring African-American veterans and their accomplishments. They are also seeking ways to branch out to other communities of color—Latinx, indigenous, and others—so that more stories can be told. Further educational materials will also be prepared.

    As this work goes on in video and curriculum production, we also imagine hands-on events to shine a light on the past. For example, we may work with a group that is rehabilitating the Lebanon Cemetery, where many African-Americans were buried in times of segregation, assuring that their memories are kept alive. York College students can assist the History Center in its efforts to tell the full, inclusive history of our area. And students can develop new ways to assure that these stories are widely told.

  • How will the goals be accomplished?

    The Center for Community Engagement (CCE) has established a strategic partnership with the Keystones Oral Histories group. Through this partnership, the CCE will support classroom projects, independent studies, internships, and other methods of getting our students involved in this work while building their own accomplishments. We will also work with Keystones to nurture community support in an effort to make York a model of inclusive history. And that can only happen if our students join these efforts!

Contact Us
Center for Community Engagement
Dominic DelliCarpini, Ph.D., Dean
Campus: Humanities Center, Room 29
Downtown: Center for Community Engagement
59 E. Market St., York, PA 17401
Phone: 717.815.1213
Contact for appt.