Thursday, February 21, 2019

A Conversation with Tatyana Oyinloye

Tatyana Oyinloye

Tatyana Oyinloye, coordinator of the African American History Program at the Arkansas State Archives took a moment from her busy schedule to talk with us about her role in preserving Arkansas heritage and making sure history is not forgotten.

Q: What’s your job title, and how long have you worked at the Arkansas State Archives?
A: I am the coordinator of  the African American History Program. I started here February 2, 2005, which is my oldest daughter’s birthday.

Q: What do you do on a typical day at Archives?
A: Researching , preparing for speaking engagements, promoting and encouraging people to apply for a Curtis Sykes grant, preparing for workshops and other duties as assigned.

Q: How did you become interested in Arkansas history or working at the Arkansas State Archives?
A: I started here because I had experience in microfilm and processing, which is where I originally started. Working here is where I found my love for knowing my history and my connection here in Arkansas.

Q: What’s the most important or interesting thing you’ve discovered while working at Archives? Why?
A: I discovered that we have a lifetime of untold stories that people could not begin to imagine. It’s here, at the archives, that I was able to find a photo of my great-great grandfather in a book. Just by doing some research, I stumbled upon it by accident.

Q: Why do you think the Arkansas State Archives is important for Arkansans?
A: It preserves the history of Arkansas and its residents.

Q: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
A: Being able to go to schools and talk to kids about Arkansas African American history and make them aware of the legacy and legends that came from our state. And, they are always so amazed, and it brings joy to my heart that if I reached just one student, I have done my job.

Q: How do you see archiving evolving in the future?
A:   Digitization is great, but nothing touches the heart or soul more than touching an original document one of your ancestors held.

Q: What do you wish people knew about Archives?
A: What a wealth of information that is available for their research purposes. It’s also a place where they can donate their legacy knowing it will be here for generations to come.