Exploratory meeting of ODU’s Mapping Desegregation Records Task Force Meeting Minutes- July 31, 2008

Virginia Historical Society

Present at the meeting: Co-Chairs: Dr. James Sweeney and Sonia Yaco, Old Dominion University; Bob Vay, George Mason; Jordan Patty, George Mason; Lee Shepard, Virginia Historical Society; Larissa Smith Ferguson, Longwood University; Jodi Koste, VCU (Medical College of Virginia); Delegate Ken Plum, Va General Assembly; Francine Archer, Va Dept Historic Resources; Eileen Parris, Va Historical Society; Troy Valos, Norfolk Public Library; Bea Hardy, William and Mary; Brian Daugherity, VCU; Lyn Hart, LVA; Carl Childs, LVA; Conley Edwards, LVA; Jennifer Davis McDaid, LVA; Brent Tarter, LVA; Alex Lorch, VCU; Alfred Willis, Hampton University

1. Sonia Yaco presented an outline of proposed task force. The main goal would be to identify, locate and preserve records that document Virginia’s school desegregation process.  She gave examples of the records created by public bodies and private groups.

Governmental records could include City Council/County Board minutes; School Board minutes and administrative papers; school district correspondence with parents, city and county officials, Virginia Department of Education and Pupil Placement Board, decisional papers, legal advice and policy statements.

Non-governmental records include teachers’ diaries, oral histories, records of informal tutoring groups that existed when public school were closed, organization papers of ad hoc citizen groups for and against Massive Resistance, papers of associations such as Virginia Education Association, Virginia State Teachers Association, Virginia Association of School Superintendents, Virginia School Boards Association.

2. Goals of task force were discussed. It was decided that the task force’s emphasis will be on inventorying public and private records already in publicly accessible locations such as libraries, archives, and governmental agencies. The scope of the project would be records related to the desegregation of public and private schools in Virginia, grades K-12 and institutions of higher education. The time span would be 1945 – 1986. Papers, photographs, existing oral histories, newspapers and audio-visual materials will be included.

3. The task force name was changed to, “Desegregation Of Virginia Education (DOVE) Project: A guide to resources”

4. The location of records and contact names of groups who could have records were identified:

  1. school superintendents association – records are at LVA
  2. teachers
  3. civic leaders
  4. curators of private collections
    • Virginia Association of Museums
    • Black History Museum
  5. civil rights organizations
    • NAACP – papers are at the Library of Congress
  6. local historical societies – few were thought to have material related to school desegregation
  7. city and county records managers
  8. state agencies
    • segregation academies were incorporated so LVA might have their records
    • architectural records
    • Virginia Foundation for Humanities, Christina Draper
    • Governors’ papers at LVA
    • Pupil Placement Board at LVA
    • Attorney General’s records at LVA
  9. religious groups
    • Catholic Church, Diocese of Richmond, since it desegregated earlier than public schools
  10. federal records
  11. state and federal courts
    • both have their own libraries
    • Walter Hoffman’s papers at Washington and Lee University School of Law

5. Although the scope of the project is statewide there will to be regional task forces. In addition to those who attended the meeting, also suggested were:

  1. Eastern Shore
    1. Miles Barnes, Eastern Shore Public Library, Accomack County
  2. Tidewater – Should this be divided up into Hampton Roads, Northern Neck?
  3. South Side
    1. Lucious Edwards, Virginia State University
  4. Northern Virginia
    1. Jim Hershman
    2. Derek Gray
  5. Piedmont
    1. Legacy Museum of African American History, Lynchburg
    2. W. Hamilton Bryson, University of Richmond Law School
    3. Randolph-Macon
  6. Valley of Virginia
    1. Dale Harter, Bridgewater College
    2. James Madison University
    3. Ted Delaney, Washington and Lee University
    4. William C. Pollard, Mary Baldwin
  7. Southwest Virginia
    1. John Kern, Va Dept Historic Resources
    2. Washington County Historical
    3. Gail M McMillan and Aaron Purcell, Virginia Tech

6. One strategy for finding school desegregation records should be to publicize the project with state wide publicity.  A brochure would be helpful to convey the goals of the project.

7. It was agreed that the first two phases of the DOVE project would be:

Phase 1: Create an electronic survey to gather information on the school desegregation records already in libraries and archives.  ODU will create this survey and send out a link to institutions before the next DOVE meeting.

Phase 2: Create regional taskforces to identify other records holders and inventory other records.

8. It was agreed that funding for the task force would have to be investigated.

9. Next meeting will be Tuesday, September 30th at 10:30 AM at Virginia Historical Society’s education classroom.

Revised: 9/5/08