PHA Project Connects Cville Students to Civil Rights Era

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Julia Jones speaks with STAB students Julia Jones speaks with STAB students

Seniors in Charlottesville are sharing stories of life in the city during the civil rights era. Their experiences are being preserved for posterity by middle school students.

Ten eighth-grade students from Saint Anne's-Belfield (STAB) interviewed seniors at the Jefferson Area Board for Aging's Mary Williams Community Center Wednesday afternoon. The students are studying the civil rights era in their history class.

The Piedmont Housing Alliance (PHA) put together the oral history project. It's the first time this has been a part of PHA’s Fair Housing Month.

The students' questions focused on access to equal housing in Charlottesville during the days of segregation.

Caleigh Weis and Audrey Strong sat down with 80-year-old Julia Jones to record her story.

“To hear the emotion from her and the opinions and experiences are better than just the facts in books,” said Strong.

“Our program really helps people get access to housing, so it's very much an issue today just as it was back in the '60s,” said Marguerite David, PHA fair housing program manager. “It's still an active issue having people have equal access to housing.”

STAB students will copy the recordings and transcribe these interviews for PHA and the seniors to keep as a record of housing history in Charlottesville.

PHA hopes to make this oral history project part of fair housing month every year.