School Desegregation in Norfolk,  Virginia





For Teachers

About the Project


Project Info -- Copyright & Usage -- Contact -- Acknowledgements

The subject of massive resistance has been of great interest to scholars and the general public.  The 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board decision in 2004 generated even more national and local attention.  Materials from other areas in Virginia where the schools were closed are already available digitally.  The story of Norfolk is unique in that it displaced the largest number of students.  A CBS documentary (“The Lost Class of ‘59”) by Edward R. Murrow brought Norfolk to national attention before segregation ended here.  While secondary source material is available, the primary sources are necessary for further research. 

In 2004, the Digital Initiatives Team at Old Dominion University Libraries began the project to digitize high-use materials relating to massive resistance and Norfolk’s school desegregation from various collections in our Special Collections. The outcome is a digital archive and web site that will be used locally and nationally by scholars, researchers, K-12 social studies students, and the general public who will be able to review crucial evidence from valuable primary resources about this important time in U.S. history. Having our unique and historically-significant materials easily accessible to scholars, researchers, and school children is crucial to telling the whole story of Virginia’s desegregation. 

Digitizing: The majority of materials are textual and were digitized using flatbed and document-feeder scanners.  Archival master tiff copies of each item were scanned at 300 dpi and stored on a server and dvd; for some lengthy items, pdf is the archival copy.  Derivative jpg copies were generated for Web access. Standard library practices for digitizing were followed.

Metadata: Metadata were recorded for each digital item using Dublin Core. Catalogers assigned LC subject headings and descriptions to each item, while the formatting metadata was applied by staff digitizers. As of June 2008, approximately half of the subjects and descriptions have been added.

Database Management: An SQL database was created in-house and used for storing the images, inputting the metadata, and searching the collection.

Beginning Fall 2008, materials from the recently-acquired Norfolk Public Schools Desegregation Papers will be digitized and added to this collection.

NOTE ABOUT PRINTING: If it is necessary to print jpgs in the collection, you will need to set your printer to "Shrink to Fit." For long images, an image manager software program will be needed to break the image into separate printable pages.

COPYRIGHT & Usage Information

The Old Dominion University Libraries does not own copyright to all of the items in this collection. We offer broad public access, however, to the digital copies as a contribution to education and scholarship.

For the purposes of research, teaching, and private study -- which constitute "fair use" according to the U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.) -- you may link to or use materials from this collection without prior permission. This use includes student presentations and projects. We ask that you provide a citation to the digital collection (Old Dominion University Libraries, School Desegregation in Norfolk, Virginia:

Because many of the items in this collection may be protected by copyright, if you wish to use these materials for commercial use or anything other than "fair use" (i.e., education or scholarship), you must seek permission from the copyright holder. For assistance with copyright permissions, contact Sonia Yaco, Special Collections Librarian & University Archivist,

Copyright Disclaimer: Old Dominion University is not, under any circumstances, responsible for the unauthorized use or redistribution of materials found in this collection. Responsibility for any violation of copyright rests exclusively with the user.

CONTACT Information

For information about the project:

Karen Vaughan
Digital Services Coordinator
ODU Libraries
Norfolk, VA 23529-0256
(757) 683-4184

For information about the collections:

Sonia Yaco
Special Collections Librarian & University Archivist
ODU Libraries
Norfolk, VA 23529-0256
(757) 683-4483

For copyright issues and concerns:

University Counsel
Old Dominion University
Norfolk, VA 23529-0256
(757) 683-3144


This project was a library-wide undertaking with contributions of staff from all areas.

  • The Digital Initiatives Team, where the project originated, was led by Virginia O'Herron. Initial members were Glenn Bunton, Susan Catlett, Tonia Graves, and Karen Vaughan, with Dustin Larmore and Sonia Yaco joining later.
  • Special Collections staff were responsible for material selection and descriptive metadata: Susan Catlett, Glen Brown.
  • Cataloging staff provided subject metadata: Cathy Jones, Dustin Larmore, Sharon Felton, Helen Ho, Nakheia McFarland, and Kathleen Smith. Tonia Graves developed the Dublin Core framework.
  • Systems Department's Glenn Bunton provided technical and server support, while Pete Bruce created and developed an in-house database for input, search and retrieval.
  • Digital Services staff (which includes staff from all areas) digitized all materials, assigned technical metadata, and assisted with subject metadata: Teresa Statler-Keener (Reference Dept), Mel Frizzel (Special Collections), Lynn Litherland (Systems), and Debra Bell (Bibliographic Services). Teresa provided the vast majority of digitizing and subject metadata work and also contributed to material selection for the Boswell and Schweitzer collections. David Corona (Interlibrary Loan) worked on oral histories relating to massive resistance.
  • Karen Vaughan, in addition to serving as project leader, was responsible for research and design of the Web site.

Special thanks go to Dr. Meghan Manfra, professor of Education, for her support of the project, to her intern Denise Trombino who developed the teacher portion of the Web site, and to Dr. James R. Sweeney of the History Department who offered his subject expertise in reviewing the Web site.