[ skip to content ]

ODU Libraries Offers New Digital Collection of School Desegregation Materials

The Old Dominion University Libraries have a new digital collection, "School Desegregation in Norfolk, Virginia," documenting the "massive resistance" to desegregation following the Brown v. Board of Education ruling in 1954, which led to the closing of six Norfolk public schools and left 10,000 students out of school. The Web site is available at http://www.lib.odu.edu/special/schooldesegregation

"School Desegregation in Norfolk, Virginia" provides access to nearly 3,000 pages of primary source documents, including correspondence, news articles, reports, speeches and legal papers. Oral history interviews with some of the major figures of the time, including Vivian Carter-Mason, Ruth James and ODU Professor Emeritus Robert Stern, are also included.

A special feature of the Web site is a tribute to the Norfolk 17, the 17 African-American students who entered six previously all-white middle and high schools that had been closed by order of the Governor to prevent desegregation. Brief biographical sketches of these individuals are included.

In addition to the material in this digital exhibit, University Libraries' Special Collections has approximately 35,000 pages of documentation on Norfolk school desegregation in 14 collections.

Primary source materials from the Special Collections of the Old Dominion University Libraries document the activities of several prominent citizens in their efforts to reopen the public schools. Highlights of these materials are now available digitally, and include the activities of the Norfolk School Board, the Norfolk Committee on Public Schools, an attorney representing the plaintiffs in lawsuits initiated to reopen the schools and a teacher. Information on Virginia's reaction to the Supreme Court's decision as a whole is also included.

More information on these collections can be found at: http://www.lib.odu.edu/special/manuscripts/desegregation.htm

This article was posted on: July 22, 2008

Old Dominion University
Office of University Relations

Room 100 Koch Hall Norfolk, Virginia 23529-0018
Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.