Virginia school desegregation project returns to ODU

Posted at 7:36 PM, Jan 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-01-22 19:36:25-05

A project to tell the story of desegregating schools in Virginia has returned to Old Dominion University where it was created.

The project "School Desegregation: Learn, Preserve and Empower" has traveled Virginia over the past year to teach about desegregation and to encourage those who lived through it to add their voices to the living project.

The collaborative history project was started by Sonia Yaco, the Special Collections Librarian and university archivist at ODU who founded DOVE - Desegregation of Virginia Education.

"For many people it was the first time they ever discussed this. They never told their family about what they went through – they’ve never told their kids, they’ve never talked to their friends about it," Yaco explained.

With each stop in places like Farmville, Hampton and Danville, Yaco recorded oral histories that will be added to the permanent collections at DOVE collection sites in each region.

Yaco says those oral histories are crucial for telling the stories of desegregation that have never been told before.

"It’s still there. That pain is still very much there for so many people," Yaco explained.

Oral history interviews will be conducted at ODU's Perry Library on Sunday, February 3.

In order to schedule an appointment, call Sonia Yaco at 757-683-4483.