Race & Racism at the University of Richmond

Resistance & Compliance

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 legally ended segregation in public places and banned employment discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. It was first proposed by President John F. Kennedy, and eventually signed into law by Kennedy’s successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson. It also banned discrimination in elementary schools, secondary schools, and institutions of higher learning. The act forbade the use of federal funds for any discriminatory program that would perpetuate school segregation.

It was not until 1968 that the University of Richmond was made to realize that it’s recruitment practices failed to align with federal guidelines. In a letter from the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Dr. Eloise Severinson stated that as the University recieved federal funding it was required to ensure that students of color had access to, and were represented within, the University.

Though President Modlin, on the behalf of the University, agreed to begin the process of integrating the school, it is unclear how integrated he intended the school to become, and just how far the school would go to follow federal guidelines. This exhibit explores the controversy around the University’s compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the efforts it made to progress in terms of integration.

This exhibit was produced by Julia Marcellino, Collin Kavanaugh and Destiny Riley.