The Black Student Experience at the University of Richmond Main Campus (1970-1992)

Over ten weeks this summer, 10 A&S Summer Fellows, 1 Spider Intern, 5 faculty mentors, and 1 community partner (Untold RVA) collaborated on The Race & Racism at the University of Richmond Project. Final projects focused on the Race & Racism Project included exhibits, podcasts, and digital stories. Over the next few weeks, we will feature these works.

Jennifer Munnings is a sophomore, intending to major in Sociology with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Jennifer was new to the Race & Racism Project when she joined our Summer 2017 team. She created 74 individual digital items for our online collection, and contributed several blog posts available here. Her final project for the summer was an Omeka digital exhibit entitled “The Black Student Experience at the University of Richmond Main Campus (1970-1992).” A bit about the topic in her own words:

The University of Richmond’s black student integration experience is a tale of feet dragging by the University administration, threats of defunding from the federal government, and some resistance from the student body.  University of Richmond jumped through hurdles to avoid integration and maintain federal funding after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, complete with creating University College to cater to the “nontraditional” student. In 1968 the University of Richmond had its first full time black student enrolled in Richmond College, Barry Greene. Black students at UR had to fight to cultivate spaces for themselves where their opinions were acknowledged as legitimate, and their experiences were not discredited within the predominately white institution….Black students did not have spaces for themselves on campus where their feelings, opinions, and right to be students were not questioned. There were no black faculty or administrators on campus; the only black adult face students would have seen would have been the custodians or the gardeners. This exhibit will explore the acts of activism, intentional or not,  by black students through their experience at UR in their creation of clubs and organizations. Additionally, it will explore the tension that existed between black students and the administration in their attempt to be integrated into the campus.

Jennifer also joined Project Coordinator Dr. Nicole Maurantonio, Project Archivist Irina Rogova, Community Partner Free Egunfemi of Untold RVA, and fellow sophomore and A&S Summer Fellow Elizabeth Mejía-Ricart at the Imagining American Conference at UC Davis to present on the summer work on October 14, 2017.

Explore Jennifer’s exhibit and others via the project’s digital collection at memory.richmond.edu

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