This article explores tensions present within a collaborative oral history project (i.e., sharing authority) concerning the East Texan African American community of Nacogdoches. It focuses on an often-neglected aspect about sharing authority: the competing conception of audience for public historians/professionals, on the one hand, and community members, on the other. Such differences, however, have led to the consideration of exciting new directions, especially as it concerns sharing authority’s potential to foster affect and empathy, which further signal sharing authority’s possible power to help assemble what has been called “historic blocs” capable of challenging local hegemony and marginalization.

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