Chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners Skip Alston is unquestionably the most powerful political figure in Guilford County: If you want county government to do something, he’s the first and last person you need to convince.

He also has an extremely interesting life story and now his bio and his popularity have drawn national attention – his life is being studied and recorded for future generations and will be preserved in the Library of Congress.

Recently, Alston was contacted by The History Makers – a national non-profit research and educational institution that has created and maintains the nation’s largest African American video oral history archive.

In 2014, the Library of Congress became the group’s permanent repository.

 The History Makers Collection represents the only large-scale attempt to record the black experience since the 1930s, when the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Slave Narratives program attempted to do something similar.

Alston said this week that, when he was first contacted by the group, who told him they wanted to record and preserve his history, he didn’t know what to think.

“I hadn’t heard of them,” he said, adding that the more he read about the organization, the more honored he felt.

Some other prominent blacks who‘ve given oral histories and been preserved by the organization include General Colin Powell, actor Harry Belafonte, Motown founder Berry Gordy and comedian Whoopi Goldberg, to name just a few.

“I was really honored,” Alston said. “I agreed to an interview and they brought a team in to conduct and record it.”

Initially told it would take about four hours, it ran longer.

“They interviewed me for about five and a half hours,” Alston said.

Alston, who grew up in Durham, has had a profound and enduring influence on the state of North Carolina and Guilford County. He was the first black chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners and the driving force behind the long process of preserving the Woolworth’s Building in downtown Greensboro – the site where the 1960 Sit-in Movement began.  The building is now the International Civil Rights Center and Museum.

Alston also single handedly established a Martin Luther King. Jr. Parade in Greensboro,.

He has run several successful businesses – from a real estate company to a hot dog restaurant – and he has now been chairman of the Board of Commissioners nine times.

He has also served as the president of both the state and local branches of the NAACP.

According to a statement from the. History Makers, “Our mission is to educate and to better document the vastness of the Black experience. We have interviewed over 3,400 African American leaders across a variety of disciplines – including the arts, business, civic engagement, education, entertainment, law, the media, medicine, STEM, the military, music, politics, religion, sports, and fashion and beauty – in over 450 U.S. cities and towns.”

The History Makers Digital Archive offers users the first-person accounts via computers and smartphones 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, from anywhere in the world.

The digital repository for the Black Experience can be found at