The mission of the Recovering Democracy Archives is to create a digital archive of lesser-known but important public speeches that remain hidden within the vaults of archival depositories or in obscure anthologies and historical publications. RDA is particularly focused on recovering speeches delivered by those challenging barriers that restrict equitable participation in civic life or promote the expansion of civic deliberation.
As a speech recovery project, RDA is committed to collecting and digitizing seldom remembered speeches from U.S. citizens as well as international orators speaking in the United States. These speeches can derive from anti-war movements, civil rights movements, educational movements, environmental movements, GLBTQ movements, labor movements, religious movements, women’s movements, and other social change and social resistance movements. The project features oratory from political and community leaders whose speeches are seldom remembered in U.S. history, as well as lesser-known speeches of celebrated orators. RDA recovers and authenticates these speeches to make them widely accessible through this open sourced website. RDA also provides important contextual information about each speech. When paired with the project’s teaching-learning materials, RDA offers a unique resource for high school and university educators to incorporate speeches into the classroom in meaningful and innovative ways.