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The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

[Danville (VA) civil rights movement collection]

Repository: Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History

Collection Description (CRHP): The Danville Museum of Fine Arts and History possesses a number of materials related to the local civil rights movement. There is a transcribed oral history of Jesse Brown, a member of the African American community who was involved in the sit-in movement. The museum also has a valuable first-hand account of the sit-in from one of the organizers, Chambers W. Mebane, Jr. In addition to detailing his role in the demonstration, he lists those who sat in as well as clears up misconceptions about the sit-in. His account is titled, "The Beginning of the Civil Rights Movement in Danville, Virginia." Two video-recorded oral histories were conducted by Sharon Hughes, one of Dorothy Harris, who discusses black politics and was a teacher. During the civil rights demonstrations, she served as the secretary of High Street Baptist Church and was involved in helping coordinate these protests. Her husband was also involved. The other oral history is of Gerry Scearce, who discusses the demonstrations as well as school integration. In addition, the museum has two other videotapes of civil rights participants discussing their experiences: a videotape of the 40th anniversary of the local civil rights demonstrations sponsored by G. L. H. School, and another videotape features Bishop Campbell, a prominent local leader, talking about the movement to a class. The program for the G. L. H. School was part of a project called Danville through the Eyes of Children.

Digital Status: No

Extent: transcripts; manuscripts; video recordings

Language: English

Related Archival Items: The museum also contains a rare copy of an out-of-print book by Ruby Toller on the role of the police in racial conflict that includes photographs of the local movement. In addition, Sharon Hughes copied articles on race relations and demonstrations from the local newspaper, the Danville Register, from 1960 to 1964. She annotated copies of the articles from March through December 1963 as well as April 2 through September 3, 1960. Finally, the museum features a spiral bound copy and other materials relating to the oral history project Mapping Local Knowledge.

Interviewees: Jesse Brown, Chambers W. Mebane, Jr., Dorothy Harris, Gerry Scearce, Bishop Campbell

Rights (CRHP): Contact the repository which holds the collection for information on rights


African American political activists--Virginia
African Americans--Civil rights--Virginia
Civil rights demonstrations--Virginia
Civil rights movements--Virginia
Virginia--Race relations




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   March 5, 2012
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