Integration: the African American Experience in Harrisonburg, Virginia, 1997

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Summary Information

Repository:
Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University
Creator:
Fisher, Todd
Title:
Integration: The African American Experience in Harrisonburg, Virginia Oral Histories
Collection No.:
SdArch 15
Date:
1997
Extent:
3 folders, 3 audiocassettes, 2 cds , .25 Cubic Feet
Language of the Material:
English
Abstract:
Integration: the African American Experience in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Oral Histories, 1997, is comprised of audio recordings, transcripts and a background paper associated with interviews conducted with Harrisonburg residents, Elon Rhodes and Barbara Blakely, regarding their experiences living in Virginia from the 1920s-1990s

Preferred Citation

[identification of item], [box #, folder #], Integration: the African American Experience in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Oral Histories, 1997, SdArch 15, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

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Bio/Historical Note

Todd Fisher, an undergraduate student at James Madison University, conducted this interview as part of the coursework for Anthropology 284, in the Fall of 1991.

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Scope and Content

Integration: the African American Experience in Harrisonburg, Virginia, Oral Histories, 1997, is comprised of audio recordings, transcripts and a background paper associated with interviews conducted with Harrisonburg residents, Elon Rhodes and Barbara Blakely, regarding their experiences living in Virginia from the 1920s-1990s.

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Arrangement

Items are arranged in no particular order.

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Administrative Information

Access Restrictions

Collection open to research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions

The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).

Acquisition Information

Donated by Todd Fisher on April 29, 1997.

Processing Information

Audiocassettes were transferred to MAMA-R 700MB gold cd-r using Tascam cc-222 mkII; 270mb in 2006.

Location

Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

880 Madison DriveMSC 1704Harrisonburg, Virginia 22807library-special@jmu.eduURL: https://www.lib.jmu.edu/special/

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Index Terms

Geographic Name

  • United States -- Race relations -- 20th century
  • Rockingham County (Va.) -- Race relations -- 20th century

Personal Name

  • Fisher, Todd

Subject

  • Harrisonburg (Va.) -- Race relations
  • Voting -- Virginia -- Rockingham County
  • Segregation in education -- United States
  • African Americans -- Education -- Southern States
  • African Americans -- Civil rights -- History
  • Race discrimination -- United States -- History
  • Social justice
  • Social justice -- Virginia -- Harrisonburg
  • Social change
  • National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  • Racism -- Political aspects -- United States
  • Segregation in education -- Virginia -- History
  • School integration -- Law and legislation
  • Reconstruction (U.S. history, 1865-1877)

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Collection Inventory

Title/Description Instances
Background Paper, January 30, 1997

This monograph provides a short history of Afro-American segregation and desegregation issues from a national and state (Virginia) perspective, beginning with the Reconstruction period following the Civil War. Mentions various issues on a national level: social, political, economic, and educational perspectives, with a review of various individuals and organizations supporting equality issues and black rights: W.E.B. Dubois and the NAACP; Thurgood Marshall; Dr. Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Reviews the concept of sit-ins as a form of protest; differing white responses, including the Ku Klux Klan. Reviews the same issues from the state level, with an emphasis on Virginia's resistive response: pro-segregationist views of Armistead L. Boothe, the Byrd Organization, and the Defenders of State Sovereignty and Individual Liberties versus viewpoints of organizations led by church ministers, college professors and social workers. Also included is information on voter rights and demographic issues. The background paper ends with a brief review of local (Rockingham County and Harrisonburg, Va.) responses to integration efforts, and speculates on reasons why they were mostly favorable.

Box 1 Folder 1
Elon Rhodes interviewed by Todd Fisher, March 18, 1997

Records Mr. Rhodes' recollections of growing up in Harrisonburg, Va. during the segregation and integration era following World War I (from 1920's) to the present. Talks about local changes over the years in educational, vocational/job, economic, cultural, recreational, and social opportunities for blacks. In particular, comments on relations between whites and blacks prior to, during and following the Civil Rights movement and school integration era. Talks about changes over the years in trade versus professional opportunities, closed job markets, and GI training to open his barbershop business; also integrated sports opportunities and neighborhoods. Talks about his 25 years of public service as the first black city official; campaigning, etc. (six years on School Board, two as Chair; sixteen years on the City Council, membership on the City annexation committee). Comments on state-wide organizations and individuals created to impede black advancement (Byrd Organization, J. Lindsay Almond) and his own relations with whites, based on business, public and social friendships and contacts. In general, shares his opinions of and philosophy about race relations within the Harrisonburg, Va. community over the years. Recorded at the home of Mr. Elon Rhodes, Harrisonburg, Va. on March 18, 1997.

Transcript, March 18, 1997 Box 1 Folder 2
Original audiocassette #1, March 18, 1997 Media Cabinet 1 Audiocassette SA015-CS-001
Original audiocassette #2, March 18, 1997 Media Cabinet 1 Audiocassette SA015-CS-002
Preservation master cd Media Cabinet 1 CD SA015-OP-001
Barbara Blakey interviewed by Todd Fisher, April 2, 1997

Records Mrs. Blakey's recollections of growing up and working in Virginia during the segregation and integration era following World War II. In particular, talks about the influence of her parents; college education; teaching career (1955-1996); family; and community life in Harrisonburg, Va. Mentions her experiences as a business teacher, first at the all black elementary-high school, Lucy Simms High School, and then at Harrisonburg High School as the first black teacher following integration. Compares and contrasts curricula and other opportunities at the two schools; the Brown vs Education decision and resulting impact on school integration. Mentions local changes over the years especially in the areas of educational, vocational/job, economic, cultural, recreational, and social opportunities for blacks. Talks about her family and sons, the importance of education; travel to other countries; and church membership. Comments on state-wide organizations and individuals created to impede black advancement (Byrd Organization, J. Lindsay Almond) and her own relations with whites, based on social friendships and contacts. In general, shares her opinions of and philosophy about race relations within the Harrisonburg, Va. community over the years. Recorded at the home of Mrs. Barbara Blakey, Harrisonburg, Va. on April 2, 1997.

Transcript, April 2, 1997 Box 1 Folder 3
Original audiocassette, April 2, 1997 Media Cabinet 1 Audiocassette SA015-CS-003
Preservation master cd Media Cabinet 1 CD SA015-OP-002