North Texas Daily

Portal archives offer insight into Texas History

Portal archives offer insight into Texas History

Portal archives offer insight into Texas History
January 27
00:07 2015

Andrea Masamba / Staff Writer

UNT’s Portal to Texas History is the best method of time travel since the movie “Back to the Future.”

The Portal to Texas History provides access to monumental events in history through newspapers, letters, maps and photographs created in those exact moments, or made in reaction to them. The materials are available online for digital and mobile view.

“Anyone who’s interested in any aspect of Texas history, whether they’re on campus or off, can benefit from using the portal,” director of oral history Todd Moye said. “UNT is extremely lucky to have the portal and the people at UNT Libraries who created it and keep expanding it.” 

The portal’s recent addition of news film from NBC 5 provides insight into events like segregation in Texas, eyewitness reports from the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the moon landing.

The website, created in 2002 and designed by Assistant Dean for Digital Libraries Mark Phillips, contains footage from NBC 5 as well as collections from over 300 partners. Phillips said UNT took the material, which was collecting dust and decay, and created a way for people to benefit from pieces of Texas history.

Moye said he believes the portal will benefit classes taught at UNT, including his own class on the history of the Civil Rights Movement in Texas.

“My students will be focused on the 1956 Mansfield school desegregation crisis,” Moye said. “The students will be using the portal to conduct their research.”

Moye said he plans for the footage to provide his students with an experience that feels like they are traveling back to 1956.

Moye said having the exact scripts or newspapers from the days when segregation was being abolished would not be possible if it was not written about, photographed or discussed on television during that time.

Several members of the UNT Libraries faculty are responsible for bringing the portal to UNT through fundraising, offering $275,000 to the project, Assistant Dean for External Relations Dreanna Belden said.

“Building partnerships with other collections in Texas is how our database continues to grow,” Belden said.

Featured Illustration by Jake Bowerman – Senior Staff Illustrator

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