Race & Racism at the University of Richmond

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Digital Memory & the Archive - Fall 2017

This website presents research conducted by students at the University of Richmond in the Fall 2017 course, “Digital Memory in the Archive.” This collection of historical documents was developed in connection to the larger Race & Racism at the University of Richmond Project. Launched in fall 2015, the Race & Racism at the University of Richmond Project takes as its mission the documentation, preservation, and analysis of texts illuminating dimensions of the University of Richmond’s racial history. The goal of this site is to help grow this collection through metadata and additional content development. Our class focused on the time period between 1964 and 1986, and sought to analyze and question primary sources in an effort to learn more about the University’s history of race and racism. 

With the guidance of Project Archivist Irina Rogova, as well as other significant collaborators, we explored a number of questions throughout the course, including:

These are just a few of the questions our class sought to explore and even, in some cases, develop answers to. In our journey to discuss and expand upon existing research, the class had the chance to engage with various different primary sources, primarily The Collegian, the campus newspaper, and unpublished materials from the University of Richmond Archive. The Virginia Baptist Historical Society offered the class an opportunity to conduct research within their facilities, giving us access to hundreds of archival documents from the University of Richmond.

The Fall 2017 class was the first to transcribe and digitize records which detail the University of Richmond just following the passage of Title VI and Title IX in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the subsequent efforts to modernize the school and comply to federal standards. These records shed light on the complex issues the University faced during E. Bruce Heilman’s time as president of the University (1971-1986, 1987-1988). Not only does this research continue to address issues of race and racism, this class has opened up research into disability rights, and gender and religious based discrimination at the University during this time period. Our class also developed content for the digital Race & Racism platform through four projects: two exhibits (Resistance and Compliance and The Title IX Controversy at UR), a podcast (A Campus Divided), and a timeline detailing University Compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

In the vein of many other digital collections, we aim to curate a digital repository that will enable researchers and viewers to take a deeper look at the history of the University of Richmond. As archival records are made accessible through digitization, we hope that these freely available resources will prompt critical inquiries into how University history is kept and retold.

Campus Collaborators

We are grateful to the guest speakers and collaborators who have taken the time to enhance our research over the semester. Not only have these individuals taken the time to speak with us about our projects, they have also shared expertise from their fields of study, added new perspectives to the history of race and racism in Richmond, and encouraged us to ask questions about the archive.

Contributing Students

After contributing to this project with the addition of two exhibits, a podcast, a timeline, and a collection of 150+ metadata entries, our class wishes to continue this conversation on Race and Racism at the University of Richmond. We hope to live this project into action by engaging the University community to raise the question: how do we decide what is remembered and what is not?