Upcoming Projects

The Texas After Violence Project currently is planning oral history projects that will focus on violence as a public health concern. We are particularly interested in exploring transgenerational trauma associated with Texas lynchings and executions, inquiring into how private and state violence may perpetuate trauma symptoms throughout communities and across generations. We also hope to return to some of our past narrators for a longitudinal exploration of the ways in which their lives have changed in the years since our initial interviews. In addition to new oral history research and interviews, we are also working on new curated projects based on our archival material.

Current Projects


The Ripple Effect: How the Death Penalty Acts as an Agent of Re-Traumatization

Mehdia Mrabet (UT-Austin 2019) finished her fall 2017 TAVP internship by writing a research paper exploring the traumatic impacts of the death penalty on the families of both murder victims and death-sentenced individuals. She writes, “The fact of the matter is that there is no reform to the death penalty process that could render re-traumatization […]


My Brother’s Keeper

In her cover article for Pacific Standard, My Brother’s Keeper, writer Sabine Heinlein delves into delves into the case of Jeff Wood and the advocacy of his sister, Terri Been. Although it is not a TAVP publication, the article includes quotes from TAVP founder, Walter Long; our newest board member Susannah Sheffer; and several of our narrators’ interviews.Heinlein takes a comprehensive look at the social and emotional effects of capital punishment, beginning with the experiences of one family member of a death-sentenced individual and moving outward to explore the broader societal impacts of the death penalty.

[Photo by Jerome Sessini]


Documentary Film on Racial Segregation in Austin

TAVP is continuing our work examining the intergenerational impacts of racial violence and trauma by producing a documentary film exploring the roots of Jim Crow racial segregation and its legacies in Austin, Texas and the United States more broadly. The film is being produced by documentary filmmaker Matthew Gossage, who has made several short films on racial and social justice in Austin.


Life and Death in a Carceral State

TAVP is collaborating with the Texas Justice Initiative (TJI) on a project to document the stories and experiences of those that have been directly impacted by deaths in Texas’ criminal justice system, especially deaths in police, jail, and prison custody. Much like TAVP’s mission to better understand how the death penalty impacts individuals, families, and communities, TJI’s mission is to know more about who is dying in Texas’ jails and prisons, bring attention to the lives that have been lost, and provide a foundation for research toward solutions that will save lives.

[Photo of Angela Brown by Matthew Gossage]


The Execution

In The Texas After Violence Project’s first culture project, The Emotions of Justice, we will from time to time release a virtual gallery that explores a specific phase of a capital murder case as told through the voices of real people who have lived through it.

Past Projects


“Connecting to the Ideologies That Surround Us”: Oral History Stewardship as an Entry Point to Critical Theory in the Undergraduate Classroom

In the most recent issue of the Oral History Review, TAVP board member Charlotte Nunes writes about working with TAVP’s oral history collection in the classroom at Southwestern in 2015. Her experience demonstrates the value of providing students with the opportunity to work closely with archival materials and engage in their stewardship. She writes: “Digitally […]


Fall Update

An update from our Executive Director.


Death Penalty and the Victims

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has just published Death Penalty and the Victims, which “includes perspectives from a broad range of victims. While some of them are family members of crime victims, others are victims of human rights violations in application of the death penalty, of its brutality and traumatic effects. […]

Human Rights Documentation Initiative

The Texas After Violence Project has conducted over one hundred oral history interviews with persons directly affected by murder and the death penalty: surviving family and friends of murder victims, surviving family of executed persons, capital defense trial and habeas attorneys, prosecutors, judges, jurors, wardens, guards, journalists, witnesses to executions, activists, investigators, religious workers, and scholars. Through a partnership with the University of Texas Libraries, many of these audiovisual testimonies are publically available through the Human Rights Documentation Initiative (HRDI), a digital archive that serves as the primary repository for our collection of oral histories and other materials. HRDI is committed to the long-term preservation of fragile and vulnerable records of human rights struggles worldwide, the promotion and secure usage of human rights archival materials, and the advancement of human rights research and advocacy around the world.