Founded in 2003 by Donna Odom, the Society for Healing and Racial Equity (SHARE) has worked to document, educate, and celebrate the history of the African American community in Kalamazoo. SHARE has a dual mission of educating the community on the importance of our region’s African American heritage and fostering connections and conversations on race and providing awareness of racism and the broad societal benefits of its elimination. We engage in the research and documentation of the history of African Americans in Kalamazoo as well as acting as a clearinghouse for information on activities and services in our region that center on racial equity.

In 2023, WMU Associate Professor and Digital Projects Librarian Amy Bocko received a three-year Presidential Innovation Professorship to support a partnership with Executive Director Chianté Lymon-Hamilton and SHARE to make the longtime oral history collection publicly available and preserved for future generations. In addition to their work safeguarding the materials from SHARE’s 20 year history of capturing oral histories, the project team is working together to grow the oral history collection, and create a community of practice for community-driven archives and digital storytelling in Kalamazoo.

The project team would like to give thanks to Donna Odom for her vision and dedication to preserving the stories and voices of the African American community in Kalamazoo. Thank you to Bruce Mills, Kalamazoo College History Department, for his work on the Engaging the Wisdom Series and helpfulness as we’ve worked to establish the SHARE streaming video archive. We are deeply appreciative of SHARE interns Ashlynne Jackson, May Tun, Sabrina King, and Abby Adams, and SHARE Office Manager Patricia Davis for their assistance in making this project possible.

And a very special thank you to Western Michigan University President Edward Montgomery for his belief and support of the SHARE-Western Michigan University Libraries partnership, and his dedication to building bridges between campus and community.


Browse the Society for History And Racial Equity (SHARE) Oral History Collection:

Engaging the Wisdom

Speaking of Business

Standing on Her Shoulders

Telling the Kalamazoo Race Story


Voices of Social Justice