Sara Jackson-Brunson Oral History


This is an interview with Sarah Jackson-Brunson, an early member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first Black sorority at UW–Madison. Jackson-Brunson discusses her experiences at UW and the importance of the Black Greek life, both socially and politically, to Black students. The first part of the interview addresses Jackson-Brunson’s experience attending UW as a Black woman, the second focuses on the importance of the AKA sorority to Jackson-Brunson and other Black students, and the third part details how Jackson-Brunson explained the relationship between Black Greek life and the Black Power movement.

Audio File:

Click Here to listen to segment one (5 mins).

Click Here to listen to segment two (5 mins).

Click Here to listen to segment three (3 mins).

Click Here to listen to all four segments (15 mins).

Click Here to view the interview transcript.

Discussion Questions:

What does this oral history reveal about being a member of both the UW and larger Madison community?

How does this oral history connect with broader histories of discrimination and resistance in both higher education and the United States?

What are the advantages and limitations of using oral histories? What challenges arise when selecting participants, generating questions, and sharing only certain segments of people’s stories?

What does Jackson-Brunson’s interview reveal about being accepted as a badger? What obstacles did she have to overcome and how did AKA help?

How did Black Greek life function as both a social organization and as a tool for political protest and mobilization?