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Groups Kick Off School Desegregation History Project

Four organizations have joined forces to preserve the memories of students who were affected by Virginia’s school desegregation efforts and will hold events throughout the state this spring.

AARP Virginia, D.O.V.E. (Desegregation of Virginia Education) Project, Virginia State Conference NAACP and Urban League of Hampton Roads will be holding events across the state to collect historical information while offering workshops and forums.

“We want to help Virginians learn about the history of school desegregation, preserve this history by telling their stories and empower Virginians to continue the quest for educational diversity,” said AARP Virginia State President Warren Stewart, a retired educator and member of the Norfolk Board of Education.

The missing pieces of Virginia’s history puzzle are the thousands of untold stories of personal experiences with integration. While Virginia’s role in the school desegregation struggle has been documented through public record, newspaper accounts and court documents, the real people who were affected have been left out.

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.

D.O.V.E. was created to find, catalog, and encourage the preservation of records that tell the story of Virginia’s school desegregation process.

AARP founder Ethel Percy Andrus was an educator, and Stewart said she would be proud of the organization’s involvement in this project.

“Fighting social injustice, protecting the rights of others and making improvements in the lives of people who need change the most is part of what AARP's mission is all about,” Stewart said.
The organizations will hold Learn, Preserve, and Empower events throughout Virginia this spring.

The events include sharing historic photographs and documents, the chance to tell your story (from the 1940s to the 1980s) about desegregation; and workshops, voter registration, and volunteer opportunities.

The schedule of events includes:

  • 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
  • May 5 – Robert Russa Moton Museum, 900 Griffin Bld., Farmville, VA 23901
  • May 12 – Richmond
  • May 19 – Alexandria
  • June 2 – Lynchburg Public Main Library, 2315 Memorial Avenue, Lynchburg, VA 24501

For more information, call 1-866-542-8164.