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 home >> Civil Rights History Project >> Survey of Collections and Repositories >> Collections >> Collection Record

The Civil Rights History Project: Survey of Collections and Repositories

Church Hill [Richmond] oral history collection

Repository: Virginia Commonwealth University. Special Collections and Archives

Collection Description (CRHP): This collection focuses on social and living conditions in Richmond's Church Hill neighborhood, which was predominantly black, during the era of segregation. This collection contains three oral histories that connect in particular to the civil rights movement: Dr. Jean Harris Ellis, the first black admitted to the Medical College of Virginia and the first woman and African American to serve on the Cabinet of a Virginia Governor; L. Douglas Wilder, the first black governor in the 20th century; and Henry L. Marsh III, a councilman and the first black mayor of Richmond.

Collection Description (Extant): This collection consists of transcripts of 35 oral history interviews conducted in 1982 that were part of a project to document the history of Richmond's historic Church Hill neighborhood. Sponsored by the Historic Richmond Foundation through a grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the interviews were with former and current residents of Church Hill. The project director was Akida T. Mensah, president of the East End Think Action Committee. Virginia Commonwealth University provided secretarial support, advice on organizing the project and methods of conducting oral history interviews.

Access Copy Note: Thirty-four of the thirty-five interviews are transcribed, and the transcripts are available online. The original typed transcripts as well as thirty-five audiocassette tapes are retained by Special Collections and Archives, James Branch Cabell Library, Virginia Commonwealth University. Copies of the transcripts are also available at Virginia Union University; a copy of its finding aid for this collection is uploaded to this record.

Collection URL: External Link

Date(s): 1982

Digital Status: Partial

Extent: 34 transcripts; audiocassettes

Language: English

Related Archival Items: See the oral Histories of Henry L. Marsh III in the Voices of Freedom Collection of Virginia Commonwealth University and the HistoryMakers archive and the oral histories of Doug Wilder in the HistoryMakers archive and The National Visionary Leadership Project Collection of African American Oral Histories available at the Library of Congress and online at See also the the Virginia Black History Archives Collection, which consists of nearly 50 collections housed in Special Collections and Archives.

Interviewees: Florence M. Allen, Bessie Bailey Baldwin, James S. Christian, Jr., Rachel Courtney, Lillian Dandridge, Katherine "Kitty" Tyndall Dennis, Hattie Finley, Helen Williams Fitzpatrick, Katie Flannagan, Susan D. Gary, Diane Harris, Jean Ellis Harris, Horace R. Hicks, Lucille B. Holcomb, Amanda Holman, Maggie Alease Taylor Jackson Howard, Samuel Jackson, Thelma Francis Jones, Welton Jones, Ellen B. Kelly, Jack W. Lively, Edna Mitchell Loundes, Henry L. Marsh, III, Naomi L. Morse, Aubrey Ramsey, Lina Roane, Robert Willis Roane, Elsie Purnell Robinson, Mary Florence Robinson, John Sweat, Edith M. Toliaferro, Melissa West, Lawrence Douglas Wilder, Rosa Allen Wilkerson, Lillian Burke Willis

Rights (Extant): As a general rule, you may print, reproduce and use the information from the VCU Libraries Website for non-commercial, personal or educational purposes. See the library's copyright web site for more info:


African American churches
African American neighborhoods
African American politicians--Virginia
African Americans--Civil rights--Virginia
African Americans--Social conditions
College integration
School integration--Virginia
Segregation in education--Virginia


Sound recordings


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   September 26, 2018
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