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ACHS interviewing former student-athletes on experiences during desegregation

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 2:21 PM EDT
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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society is receiving a $75,000 grant, which is going towards an oral history project.

ACHS has so far talked to 30 former student-athletes about desegregation, with a goal of talking to at least 60.

Executive Director Tom Chapman says the larger conversation about desegregation is already well-documented. He wants to share the stories that haven’t been heard.

“What did the students think? How did the students actually go about their daily lives? How did they understand, you know, from a segregated school experience, such as Burley High School here in Charlottesville?” Chapman said.

The interviews can last for hours.

“We try to do it in settings that they feel familiar with, such as their home. So we put them in their Lazy Boy or their couch, and we have the cameras and everything set up in an unobtrusive way and then we just try to have a conversation with them,” Chapman said.

He hopes to eventually turn this project into part of a larger series.

“We’re hoping that it’ll be kind of a catalyst to move forward with other oral history projects, not only focused on race and sports in the period of integration in our school systems, but also looking at all kinds of other different historical events,” Chapman said.

If you think you have a story to tell about student-athletes and desegregation in the Charlottesville area, you can reach out to the historical society.

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