Can I Survive? by Mysia Perry

Over the course of summer 2018, five A&S Summer Research Fellows conducted a series of interviews with University of Richmond black alumni. Expanding on previous research (see memory.richmond.edu) conducted in University Archives at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, the practice of oral histories seeks to grow what is held in the archival record, to give voice to the people and stories that have not been heard and/or included in the historical record. As the Baylor University Institute for Oral History explains: “Oral history provides a fuller, more accurate picture of the past by augmenting the information provided by public records, statistical data, photographs, maps, letters, diaries, and other historical materials. Eyewitnesses to events contribute various viewpoints and perspectives that fill in the gaps in documented history, sometimes correcting or even contradicting the written record. Interviewers are able to ask questions left out of other records and to interview people whose stories have been untold or forgotten. At times, an interview may serve as the only source of information available about a certain place, event, or person.”

After conducting a series of interviews, students were tasked with creating short podcasts from the stories they heard. Special thanks to Kelley Libby for joining our team this summer and providing instruction production assistance for these student works.

On June 25, 2018, Ayele d’Almeida (’20) and Mysia Perry (’21) conducted an oral history interview with S. Joanne Morris (B’79).

Click here to listen to the entire podcast produced and narrated by Mysia Perry from the forty minute interview in which Morris discusses her experience as one of the few black women in the Robins School of Business in the late 1970s.

Where I Come From, You Recognize Humanity by Ayele d’Almeida

Over the course of summer 2018, five A&S Summer Research Fellows conducted a series of interviews with University of Richmond black alumni. Expanding on previous research (see memory.richmond.edu) conducted in University Archives at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, the practice of oral histories seeks to grow what is held in the archival record, to give voice to the people and stories that have not been heard and/or included in the historical record. As the Baylor University Institute for Oral History explains: “Oral history provides a fuller, more accurate picture of the past by augmenting the information provided by public records, statistical data, photographs, maps, letters, diaries, and other historical materials. Eyewitnesses to events contribute various viewpoints and perspectives that fill in the gaps in documented history, sometimes correcting or even contradicting the written record. Interviewers are able to ask questions left out of other records and to interview people whose stories have been untold or forgotten. At times, an interview may serve as the only source of information available about a certain place, event, or person.”

After conducting a series of interviews, students were tasked with creating short podcasts from the stories they heard. Special thanks to Kelley Libby for joining our team this summer and providing instruction production assistance for these student works.

On June 20, 2018, Ayele d’Almeida (’20) and Jacob Roberson (’19) conducted an oral history interview with Stan Jones (R’83).

Click here to listen to the entire podcast produced by Ayele d’Almeida from the one hour and forty minute interview in which Jones discusses his experience of social life and academic life as a black student athlete on campus in the early 1980s.

Westhampton College Traditions

Over the course of summer 2018, three A&S Summer Research Fellows conducted research into the University Archives at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society to expand the archival holdings of the Race & Racism Project. At the end of the summer fellowship, each student was tasked with doing a deep-dive research on one topic in order to create a digital exhibit or podcast on the subject.

After going through decades of University of Richmond yearbooks, rising junior Catherine Franceski focused her digital exhibit on Westhampton College traditions and their contribution to forming an image of white, upper class womanhood on campus. In her own words:

Traditions, such as Ring Dance, help connect generations, and highlight values that the group considers to be important. Through time, many of Westhampton College’s traditions have slowly faded away. These traditions, although relics of the past, provide a glimpse into the college’s past, forming the white, upper class definition of womanhood on campus. This exhibit features four Westhampton College traditions or organizations: The Women’s Lifestyle Committee, the annual Panty Raids, May Day, and Rat Week. It will examine aspects of each that contributed to a campus culture of racism, classism, and sexism. 

Click here to check out her exhibit entitled “Westhampton College Traditions” on memory.richmond.edu

The Damage of the Affirmative Action Myth by Eden Wolfer

Over the course of summer 2018, five A&S Summer Research Fellows conducted a series of interviews with University of Richmond black alumni. Expanding on previous research (see memory.richmond.edu) conducted in University Archives at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, the practice of oral histories seeks to grow what is held in the archival record, to give voice to the people and stories that have not been heard and/or included in the historical record. As the Baylor University Institute for Oral History explains: “Oral history provides a fuller, more accurate picture of the past by augmenting the information provided by public records, statistical data, photographs, maps, letters, diaries, and other historical materials. Eyewitnesses to events contribute various viewpoints and perspectives that fill in the gaps in documented history, sometimes correcting or even contradicting the written record. Interviewers are able to ask questions left out of other records and to interview people whose stories have been untold or forgotten. At times, an interview may serve as the only source of information available about a certain place, event, or person.”

After conducting a series of interviews, students were tasked with creating short podcasts from the stories they heard. Special thanks to Kelley Libby for joining our team this summer and providing instruction production assistance for these student works.

On July 2, 2018, Eden Wolfer (’20) and Rena Xiao (’20) conducted an oral history interview with Iria Jones (W’87).

Click here to listen to the entire podcast produced and narrated by Eden Wolfer from the one hour interview in which Wolfer considers affirmative action policies in the context of Jones’ experience as a student at the University of Richmond in the 1980s.

Stay tuned to this blog and our social media (TwitterInstagramFacebook) to find out when complete oral histories are available!

Racism in UR Fraternities

Over the course of summer 2018, three A&S Summer Research Fellows conducted research into the University Archives at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society to expand the archival holdings of the Race & Racism Project. At the end of the summer fellowship, each student was tasked with doing a deep-dive research on one topic in order to create a digital exhibit or podcast on the subject.

After going through decades of University of Richmond yearbooks, rising senior Kristi Mukk focused her digital exhibit on acts of racism displayed by university fraternities in the years before, during, and after integration. In her own words:

Kappa Alpha 1971

In both the past and the present, University of Richmond social life has been dominated by Greek life. This exhibit aims to present evidence of racism in fraternities from 1947-1985 that created an exclusionary atmosphere for students of color, particularly black students. Whether it is Confederate flags displayed in Greek lodges, fraternity members in blackface, or culturally appropriative costumes and party themes, fraternities clearly exhibited racist behavior even as the University began to integrate and admit black students to the main campus in 1968. These photos were published in the University of Richmond yearbooks, which normalizes these racist actions and shows how representative they were of the University of Richmond experience. These artifacts bring into question the comfort of public racism at the University as these racist items were published in yearbooks well past the period of integration and into the 1980s.

Click here to check out her exhibit entitled “Racism in UR Fraternities” on memory.richmond.edu

Commemorating the Past for a Better Future: The 50th Anniversary of Residential Desegregation at the University of Richmond

by Dom Harrington

Dom Harrington is a senior from Indianapolis, Indiana majoring in American Studies and minoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality studies (WGSS). She has been involved with the Race & Racism Project since 2016 and is currently serving as an advisory board member and as the chair of the 50th Anniversary of Residential Desegregation Committee. As a student, she is also an Oldham Scholar, Oliver Hill Scholar, member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Board, a research assistant for Dr. Kristjen Lundberg, a peer adviser and mentor, and a Bunk contributor. She hopes to go to graduate school for mental health counseling.

This year, 2018, marks some momentous “fiftieth” anniversaries for this country.   It marks the fiftieth anniversary of the assassinations of Sen. Robert Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., along with the fiftieth anniversary of the first interracial kiss to air on American television.  However, 2018 is an especially important year for this university because it marks the fiftieth anniversary of residential desegregation on the University of Richmond’s campus. I’ve spent the past few months working with dedicated students trying to tackle the significant task of commemorating this occasion, and I’m incredibly excited for all that is yet to come this school year.  With this, I’d like to thank the Race & Racism at the University of Richmond Project for giving me the space to share my thoughts on why commemoratory events surrounding this pivotal anniversary are not only nice, but necessary.

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A Feather in Their Cap: The Story of Barry Greene (R’72)

Over the course of summer 2018, five A&S Summer Research Fellows conducted a series of interviews with University of Richmond black alumni. Expanding on previous research (see memory.richmond.edu) conducted in University Archives at the Virginia Baptist Historical Society, the practice of oral histories seeks to grow what is held in the archival record, to give voice to the people and stories that have not been heard and/or included in the historical record. As the Baylor University Institute for Oral History explains: “Oral history provides a fuller, more accurate picture of the past by augmenting the information provided by public records, statistical data, photographs, maps, letters, diaries, and other historical materials. Eyewitnesses to events contribute various viewpoints and perspectives that fill in the gaps in documented history, sometimes correcting or even contradicting the written record. Interviewers are able to ask questions left out of other records and to interview people whose stories have been untold or forgotten. At times, an interview may serve as the only source of information available about a certain place, event, or person.”

After conducting a series of interviews, students were tasked with creating short podcasts from the stories they heard. Special thanks to Kelley Libby for joining our team this summer and providing instruction production assistance for these student works.

On July 12, 2018, Ayele d’Almeida (’20), Mysia Perry (’21), and Jacob Roberson (’19) conducted an oral history interview with Barry Greene (R’72).

Click here to listen to the entire podcast produced and narrated by Jacob Roberson from the one hour and forty minute interview in which Greene discusses his experience as the first black residential student at the University of Richmond.

Stay tuned to this blog and our social media (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) to find out when complete oral histories are available!

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