Race & Racism at the University of Richmond

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About - Fall 2016

This website presents research conducted by students at the University of Richmond in the Fall 2016 course, “Digital Memory in the Archive.” This collection of historical documents was developed in connection to the larger Race and Racism at the University of Richmond Project. The goal of both this site and the larger project is to analyze and question primary sources found in University of Richmond archives. Our class focused on the time period between 1946 and 1971, in an effort to examine what these sources reveal about the University’s history of race and racism.

With the help of Professor Nicole Maurantonio, as well as various other significant collaborators, we explored a number of questions throughout the course, including:

What is race, and how has the definition changed over time?

What is racism?

How do we understand/make sense of a racist past?

How has the University of Richmond dealt with race and racism in the past? How does it deal with such topics today?

What is memory and whose memory gets commemorated/preserved?

What is the role of digital archives in protecting and making accessible such stories of the past?

How does the digital archival process work?

What are the benefits and disadvantages of digital archives as compared with more traditional means of preserving and sharing memory?

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 the research already begun, the class had the chance to engage with various different primary sources, including The Collegian, the the campus newspaper, and the literary magazine, The Messenger, created and run by students. We also examined various University yearbooks and alumni bulletins. We were afforded the chance to conduct our research at Virginia Baptist Historical Society, which houses a plethora of archival documents from the University of Richmond.

Through this process we have been able to uncover not only the University's complex and turbulent past but how racist ideologies and traditions impacted the perspectives and reception of black students, staff, and guests who found themselves on campus during George Modlin’s time as president of the University (1946-1971). Our class’ contribution to the project features five smaller projects: two podcasts (African American Staff at the University of Richmond and Douglas Southall Freeman), two exhibits (Students of Color and George Modlin's Segregation Folder), and a timeline detailing important events of the time period.

Similar to the mission of other historical documentation projects and digital archives, we hope that this information is not simply interesting and attention-catching upon first glance. We hope that it causes viewers to take a deeper look and both analyze and question how history is kept and retold in order to better understand their own personal role in dictating such a conversation.


Special Thanks…

Over the course of the semester, numerous guest speakers and collaborators have taken the time to not only speak with us about projects and works they themselves have completed; they have also elaborated on the conversation of race and racism in Virginia, establishing deeper meaning for us. For these reasons, we would like to thank the following individuals:

● Fred Anderson -- Executive Director, Virginia Baptist Historical Society

● Elizabeth Baughan -- Associate Professor of Classics and Archaeology, University of Richmond

● Victoria Charles -- Humanities Post-Baccalaureate Fellow, University of Richmond

 Matthew Delmont -- Associate Professor of History, Arizona State University, and Black Quotidian Curator

● Julian Hayter -- Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies, University of Richmond

● Darlene Herod -- Research Assistant, Virginia Baptist Historical Society

● Lynda Kachurek -- Head of Rare Books and Special Collections, University of Richmond

Jeannine Keefer -- Visual Resource Librarian, University of Richmond

 Lynn Rainville -- Research Professor in the Humanities & Director of the Tusculum Institute for Local History & Historic Preservation, Sweet Briar College

Irina Rogova -- Project Archivist, Race and Racism at the University of Richmond Project

 


Fall 2016 Contributing Students

 

 Fall 2016 Class

 

Bal Artis – Bal is a senior from Washington, D.C. He is a Rhetoric & Communication Studies major. As a transfer student coming to the University of Richmond, Bal believes this class has opened his eyes to just how complex and tense race relations at the University of Richmond are and have been in the past.

Aggy Barnowski – Aggy is a senior from New York City, New York, double majoring in Leadership Studies and Psychology with a minor in Rhetoric & Communication Studies. Aggy cites this class as one of the first times she has been able to study and examine the history of the University. She thinks it is interesting to compare and contrast the University’s past with its present.

Tenaya Bien – Tenaya is a senior from Bellevue, Washington and her majors include Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies and Political Science. Tenaya thoroughly enjoyed visiting Virginia Baptist Historical Society because looking at the primary sources there made her feel more connected to the campus and its history.

Emeline Blevins – Emeline is a senior at the University of Richmond from New Orleans, Louisiana. She is a History major with a minor in Classical Studies. Emeline cites one of her favorite readings from the semester as Cara Finnegan’s What is This a Picture Of?: Some Thoughts on Images and Archives.

Dominique Brown – Dominique is a senior from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and is majoring in American Studies, with minors in both English and Creative Writing. Dominique cites the class trip to Monticello as her favorite part of the course as it allowed her to be immersed in the history of Virginia and learn more about the life of Thomas Jefferson and his views on race.

Natalia Chaney – A current senior, Natalia is from Huntington, New York, majoring in Rhetoric & Communication Studies and minoring in Film Studies. Natalia cites University of Richmond by John Reuben Alley and Robert S. Alley as her favorite class reading. Its use of the photographic form allows readers to view parts of history in ways that traditional written forms like books and articles may not be able to convey.

Maddy Dunbar – Maddy is a senior from Columbus, Ohio, triple majoring in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, Sociology, and American Studies. When asked what she enjoyed most about the class, Maddy admitted that she loved learning more about the city of Richmond and how the University of Richmond’s racial history shapes the way current students navigate through campus on a daily basis.

Bailey Duplessie - Bailey is a senior from Bethesda, Maryland majoring in Rhetoric & Communication Studies. Bailey’s favorite work from the course was the March series. She believes it is a very interesting format through which to learn about history.

Dominique Harrington – A sophomore from Indianapolis, Indiana, Dominique is majoring in American Studies with a minor in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. When asked about how she felt about the class, Dominique commented that she found it interesting to learn about how the racial discriminatory history of the University has affected each student in the classroom differently.

Damian Hondares – Damian is from Lancaster, Pennsylvania and is a senior. A Journalism and American Studies double major, Damian’s favorite source from the class was the March trilogy by John Lewis. He found the graphic novel format a tool which one seldom sees in most classrooms, yet was a great format to work with.

Madeleine Jordan-Lord - Madeleine is a junior from Richmond, Virginia. She is majoring in American Studies and History, with a minor in Anthropology. Madeleine list her favorite part of the course as the class' numerous interactions with Irina Rogova, as Rogova held a wealth of knowledge about archives and the benefits that can come from using digital archives over traditional ones.

Karissa Lim – Karissa is a junior from Franklinville, New Jersey. She is a double major in Psychology and Rhetoric & Communication Studies. Karissa’s favorite part of the class was the trip to Monticello. She found hearing the various speakers talk about racism and slavery in Virginia illuminating.

Cassidy Lowther – Cassidy is a senior from Riverside, Connecticut majoring in Rhetoric & Communication Studies. When asked about her time in the class, Cassidy stated that she still finds it shocking that prior to the course she felt educated on the University’s history, yet with each passing class realized how much she hadn’t known.

Keshara Moore – Keshara is a senior from Carthage, New York. She is majoring in Criminal Justice and minoring in American Studies. Keshara cited Julian Hayter’s “From Intent to Effect: Richmond, Virginia, and the Protracted Struggle for Voting Rights, 1965–1977” as her favorite reading from the course. It challenged a number of beliefs that Americans held and still hold about race and racism in the country, specifically regarding the rise of a "post-racial" period in America.

Chris Sullivan – Chris is a junior from Malvern, Pennsylvania. He is majoring in PPEL and minoring in Rhetoric & Communication Studies. When asked about the class, Chris commented on how it has taught him the importance of memory not only when it comes to the past but the present as well.

Canyon Teague – Canyon is a senior from Columbus, Ohio. He has a major in English and a minor in Rhetoric & Communication Studies. When asked what he enjoyed the most about the class, Canyon admits that using the Shared Shelf database to create entries for historical items from Richmond was a great experience.

Megan Wirtz – Megan is a sophomore from Washington, D.C. and is majoring in Theatre with a minor in Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies. Megan believes that the class has affected her on a personal level. She is now more aware of the history of the institution in which she goes to school and how that affects the campus in the present.