The DOVE event at Danville Fine Arts Museum in November of 2012 began with discussions of the role the Museum played in civil rights and diversity in Danville and the history of the DOVE project. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5o7aW2XCRZI
An amazing video of oral histories done by Genea Luck, AARP and NAACP member, at the Virginia State NAACP conference October 27, 2012. The stories were collected as part of the AARP, DOVE, NAACP, Urban League “School Desegregation: Learn, Preserve and Empower” project.
Sonia Yaco, Special Collections librarian and university archivist at Old Dominion University, and Old Dominion University have been selected to receive the 2012 AARP Community of the Year Award. It will be presented to Yaco at the AARP All Volunteer Assembly Awards Recognition Banquet on Nov. 28.
The award is in recognition of Yaco’s leadership on the Desegregation of Virginia Education (DOVE), AARP, NAACP and Urban League project and traveling exhibit, “School Desegregation: Learn, Preserve, and Empower.”
The exhibit will be at ODU’s Perry Library from Jan. 7 to Feb. 14, 2013.
This event includes:
- Sharing historic photographs, documents, and memorabilia
- Recording your story (from 1950s to the 1980s) about desegregation
- Viewing film footage of local history
- Taking part in a Community Dialogue
This event is sponsored by the collaborative efforts of the Danville Historical Society, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, the Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History, AARP, Virginia NAACP, and Urban League of Hampton Roads, Inc.
Saturday, November 10,2012
Bring letters, photos, fliers, and posters about school desegregation to donate to DOVE and the Danville Historical Society or to be scanned for digital archives. Call “C.B.” at 434-7934-5644 to schedule a recording time.
Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History
975 Main Street
August 14, 2012
Dear Ms. Yaco:
Thank you for allowing AARP to team with the DOVE project this year as we helped educate communities across Virginia on the history of our Commonwealth. Creating a traveling exhibit and showcasing this at a dozen sites is no easy task but together, we did it! I do believe that the groundwork we’ve laid could bring about further opportunities in coming years as well.
We are especially pleased to have given individuals the chance to tell their stories and to have those records stored as archives in the libraries of Old Dominion University. We appreciate your effort to collect, record, transcribe, and copy these living histories at each of the locations. Hearing each one was a moving experience for me, and I was pleased to have shared my own experience knowing that it too will be stored for future generations.
These types of projects are especially meaningful for AARP members and our state office continues to be interested in programs which reach across boundaries in order to educate people of all ages. We wish to offer congratulations and share that we would be interested in collaborating again. Thank you for diligently working to make all the logistics fit together. The results we’ve achieved could not have been done without your leadership and coordination.
If there is anything else AARP can do to further share with others the results we’ve demonstrated, please do not hesitate to ask.
Warren A. Stewart
From April through June, the “School Desegregation: Learn, Preserve, and Empower” exhibit toured locations in Hampton, Richmond, Farmville, Lynchburg, Alexandria and the Eastern Shore to gather personal accounts and artifacts from the 1940s to the 1980s related to the desegregation of Virginia schools.
The exhibit, which is display at the History Museum of Western Virginia in Virginia until mid August, is a collaboration of DOVE (Desegregation of Virginia Education), AARP Virginia, Virginia State Conference NAACP, and the Urban League of Hampton Roads. Its goal is to fill in “the missing piece of history’s puzzle … the thousands of untold stories of the people who personally experienced integration. From segregation to massive resistance to desegregation, they bore witness to emerging social change. Their stories help us to understand the enormity of the struggle that brought about that change.”
Read about the success of the project in an InsideODU story by Steve Daniel.
The DOVE project seeks to identify and preserve materials relating to school desegregation. A growing catalog and other information is available from the ODU Library Web site.
For more information contact DOVE co-chairs:
Virginia Commonwealth University
Old Dominion University
DOVE is gathering personal stories about desegregation in Virginia. The day of our “School Desegregation: Learn, Preserve and Empower” in Melfa Va, Evelyn (Ames) Molder sent us this email:
Desegregation as I saw it in 1968 at Capeville Elementary School in Townsend Va. I was 9 years old at the time.
In fourth grade, the wheels of desegregation began. I’d heard family talk about it but I did not know what it meant so I just went about my business. When the day came, I was frightened by some of the white people who felt they were being punished in some fashion for having to bring their kids to this black school. That morning after getting off the bus to school there were station wagons everywhere with big white women on bullhorns calling us niggers and were just mad because their kids had to attend school with us. I was really confused because my parents never spoke that way about anybody I knew. Maybe it was because we were not around white people that much. All I felt was confusion. The police came and dispersed the crowd and school went on as usual. The thing that really got me thinking about how bad this would be was one day when I was on the swings and a white girl was on the one next to me. My mother had done my hair in a bun which meant that a lot of hair pins were there to stop my hair from falling. The girl asked me who put all those nigger pins in my hair. At first I said nothing because I really didn’t know how to react. Was it an insult? So she kept repeating it. I finally got sick of it and punched her off the swing. She ran crying to the principal’s office and even after explaining what happened I was kept after school and she waved good-bye to me while boarding the bus to go home. This type of treatment continued because no one wanted to take on the white parents of the kids causing the problems. I am thankful to the man who was raised with my mother who was a janitor at the school. He left work early and took me home. He said he didn’t want to upset my father who would have hit the roof. Not angry at me but at Mr. Arnold the principle of the school who made me stay after school. He was right. My dad would have gone to his home that night and punched him out. This incident was not the only time that black kids were suffering because of the problems that the white kids would start. Many kids suffered from the teachers as well.
There were many white kids who were very kind and did not disrespect the black kids. Many of those who had physical problems were treated badly by the white kids as well. They were mostly my friends. At that time in school there were bullies who chose not to associate with me as well. So us cast outs played together and talked over our problems. All we had was each other.
It wasn’t easy.
Desegregation of Virginia Education (DOVE), the collaborative history project hosted at Old Dominion University, joined with AARP Virginia, Virginia Conference NAACP and Urban League of Hampton Roads, on March 14 in Richmond to kick off the project “School Desegregation: Learn, Preserve and Empower.”
The initiative, which includes a traveling exhibit this spring to six commonwealth locales, is designed to encourage the preservation of records that tell the story of Virginia’s school desegregation – through firsthand accounts of people who experienced both the segregation and desegregation of Virginia’s public schools.
As Andrew Heidelberg, one of the “Norfolk 17″ who integrated Norfolk’s all-white public schools in 1959, said at the news conference on Wednesday, “Let’s get the history as told by the people who lived the history.”
Sonia Yaco, ODU’s Special Collections librarian and university archivist, who serves as co-chair of DOVE, shared some stories of Virginia’s desegregation history at the event last week, but said there is much that is lacking in the public record.
“Public records and newspaper accounts tell part of this tale. But still missing are the stories told by those affected by integration,” she said.
“A man called me at Special Collections at ODU Libraries to ask where he could find any evidence of the cross burning, abusive late-night phone calls and death threats he had endured when he enrolled in a previously white rural south-side high school. Where was it recorded?
“A woman emailed me asking where she could find material telling what it was like to be bused for racial balance.
“Where are these stories? For most communities, the answer is nowhere. The experience of black children who walked into white schools, and the stories of the white children who were bused to black schools, is missing from history.”
Yaco said she created DOVE in 2008 to fill this gap, and this new initiative will add more pieces to the Virginia history puzzle.
DOVE, Yaco explained, locates, catalogs and encourages the preservation of materials related to massive resistance, including correspondence, reports, newsletters, photographs, personal papers, organizational papers and first-person accounts.
“We want to find material about those who experienced desegregation and make it available to the public. We have been surveying archives throughout the state for relevant material, and we have created a catalog showing where these various materials can be found.
“Last year, I learned about AARP’s work gathering oral histories from the activists in the civil rights movement. They, in turn, told me about historic photographs – of Oliver Hill and other attorneys who filed the Virginia Brown lawsuit – that are held by the Virginia State NAACP. We recognized that we had a common goal: preserving the history of diversity in education in Virginia. In this mission, we have been joined by the Urban League of Hampton Roads.”
Brian J. Daugherity, Virginia Commonwealth University, co-chair of DOVE, spoke at the press conference about the need to preserve this important history. Two members of the Governor’s administration spoke in support of the project – Lisa Hicks-Thomas, Secretary of Administration and Javaid Siddiqi, Deputy Secretary of Education.
The one-day traveling events this spring will include:
- An exhibit of photographs and documentaries on the history of school desegregation in Virginia.
- The chance for participants to tell their story about desegregation. The public is invited to bring anything that describes their involvement in desegregation to the events: letters, photos, fliers and posters. People can donate them to DOVE or allow them to be scanned for the digital archives. Oral histories will be collected.
- Workshops, voter registration and volunteer opportunities.
The events will be held Saturdays on the following dates:
- April 14—Eastern Shore Community College, Business Development and Workforce Training Center, 29300 Lankford Highway, Melfa, VA 23410
- April 28—First Baptist Church of Hampton, 229 N. King Street, Hampton, VA 23669 from 10:00 Am – 3 PM
- May 5—R. R. Moton Museum, 900 Griffin Bld., Farmville, VA 23901 11:30 – 3:30 PM
- May 12—Armstrong High School 2300 Cool Lane Richmond, VA 23223 9:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
- May 19—Charles Houston Recreation Center, 905 Wythe Street Alexandria, VA 22314 9:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
- June 2—Lynchburg Public Main Library, 2315 Memorial Avenue, Lynchburg, VA 24501 9:30 a.m.–3:00 p.m.
“We at DOVE are most eager to learn whatever Virginians are willing to share with us about segregation and desegregation and the history of Virginia education,” Yaco said.
For more information about the project, visit the DOVE website, http://www.lib.odu.edu/specialcollections/dove/index.htm.
Refreshments will be served. Registration is required. Call 1-877-926-8300.
For more information, call 1-866-542-8164.
DOVE, Virginia State Conference of the NAACP, and AARP of Virginia are working to establish a collaborative partnership. This project has potential to bring together interested persons through education, empowerment, and volunteering. Our plan, using the DOVE Project as a template, is to collect stories and historic documents throughout the state, detailing Virginia’s historic journey to the desegregation of schools, via a series of one-day events held throughout the state. We will use these occasions to display historic documents and photos related to the civil rights struggle and the desegregation of schools; perform workshops designed to empower the community; and register voters.
We are planning to convene a meeting of leaders from around the state who have an interest in being involved in this project. The meeting will be held 12:00 to 2:00 p.m. on Wednesday, January 25, 2012, at the NAACP’s Virginia State Conference office at 1214 West Graham Road, Richmond, VA 23220. Lunch will be served. We hope to make available an audio bridge for those who cannot come in person.
Please RSVP by contacting Patrick Johnson, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or (804) 344-3060, by 12:00 p.m. on Friday, January 20, 2012. We look forward to hearing from you.
Virginia State Conference NAACP/AARP Virginia/DOVE Collaboration FACT SHEET
This project will consist of a traveling exhibit to educate and preserve the memories of school desegregation in Virginia. The exhibit will travel to eight regions in Virginia, lasting one day at each locale. The first exhibit will be the week of February 27th.
The project seeks to preserve the records and memories of the participants in the integration of the public schools in Virginia from the 1940s to the 1980s. The children affected by the decisions made by the various authorities are now in their 50s, 60s and 70s. It is imperative to interview these people before their memories have faded completely. The physical records of these events, both public and private, may also be endangered and need to be cataloged and protected for current and future generations.
Components of the exhibit are:
1. Learn about the history of school desegregation
- A portable exhibit containing photographs, maps and images of definitive historic documents with a timeline of school desegregation events in Virginia
- Documentaries about school desegregation
2. Share our stories
- Collect oral histories
- Scan documents
- Encourage donation of material to DOVE repositories
- Voter registration and education
- Train volunteers for the DOVE project
- Financial literacy workshops by AARP
- Volunteer opportunities for NAACP and AARP
4. Timeframe: February through June 2012