AARP to Present Community of the Year Award to Sonia Yaco and Old Dominion University.

Sonia Yaco to recieve award from AARP

Sonia Yaco with DOVE exhibit

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.

DOVE exhibit at Danville Museum of Fine Arts & History, Nov. 6 – Dec. 16

Paula Martin Smith with DOVE exhibit

Paula Martin Smith with DOVE exhibit

The missing pieces of Virginia’s history puzzle are the thousands of untold stories of personal experiences with integration.  DOVE (Desegregation of Virginia Education) was created to find, catalog, and encourage the preservation of records that tell the story of Virginia’s school desegregation process.  From segregation to Massive Resistance to desegregation, people bore witness to emerging social change.  Their stories help us to understand the enormity of the struggle that brought about that change.

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.

Opening Reception
Saturday, November 10,2012
3:00-6:00 PM

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
Danville Virginia

Letter from AARP Virginia State President Warren Stewart


Warren Stewart at DOVE event in Hampton with Brenda Andrews, publisher of New Journal and Guide and Sonia Yaco

Warren Stewart at DOVE event in Hampton with Brenda Andrews, publisher of New Journal and Guide and Sonia Yaco

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
State President