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Norfolk Mayor to Host Press Conference on Desegregation Anniversary at ODU Today

Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim will hold a press conference marking the 50th anniversary of school desegregation in the city at Old Dominion University's Perry Library today at 11 a.m.

Fraim will be joined by ODU Acting President John R. Broderick and University Librarian Virginia O'Herron to publicly unveil the library's collection of nearly 35,000 pages of historical documentation on desegregation efforts as well as its digital collection highlighting the same.

"School Desegregation in Norfolk, Virginia," documents 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 digital and library collection 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.

More information on these collections can be found at: http://www.lib.odu.edu/special/manuscripts/desegregation.htm.  The digital collection is available at http://www.lib.odu.edu/special/schooldesegregation.

This article was posted on: October 6, 2008

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