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You Visit Tour. Webb Lion Fountain. June 1 2017. Photo David B. Hollingsworth

Virginia School Desegregation Exhibit Returns Home to Perry Library

It made a profound impact when it toured Virginia, but now a traveling exhibit about school desegregation in the commonwealth has come back to Old Dominion University's Perry Library, where it was created.

"School Desegregation: Learn, Preserve and Empower" will be on display in the library's Learning Commons from Jan. 15 to Feb. 14. A reception for the exhibit will be held from 6-7 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 31, in Conference Room 1310 at the Learning Commons.

The exhibit is the result of an initiative of Old Dominion University Libraries and DOVE (Desegregation of Virginia Education), a collaborative history project. Last year, the ODU Libraries and the DOVE Project formed a partnership with AARP Virginia, Virginia Conference NAACP and the Urban League of Virginia to collect stories and historic documents detailing Virginia's historic journey toward the desegregation of its schools.

The initiative held a series of events, titled "School Desegregation: Learn, Preserve and Empower," in Hampton, Portsmouth, Richmond, Farmville, Lynchburg, Alexandria, the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Roanoke last spring and summer. The events included an audio-visual exhibition featuring photographs of those involved in the struggle for school equality, such as Oliver W. Hill, Thurgood Marshall and others, along with a timeline of key events.

Visitors to the traveling exhibit were encouraged to share their community's experience through the donation of photographs, letters, fliers and posters, or by telling their own experiences through oral histories.

Oral history interviews will be conducted at Perry Library from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 3. Those who wish to have their oral history recorded should contact Sonia Yaco, ODU's Special Collections Librarian and university archivist, at 683-4483 or syaco@odu.edu to make an appointment.

ODU and Yaco, who is the founder and co-chair of the DOVE Project, were awarded the AARP 2012 Community Partner of the Year Award for their collaboration on the traveling DOVE exhibit.

The DOVE Project, hosted at Old Dominion University Libraries, seeks to identify and preserve materials relating to school desegregation. A growing catalog and other information are available at the DOVE website, http://www.lib.odu.edu/specialcollections/dove/.