Rights Leader Dorothy Height To Speak At U.Va.
Related “Wednesdays In Mississippi” Records Given To
October 1, 2003 --
I. Height, 91, a Richmond native and a major figure in the U.S.
civil rights movement, will speak at the University
Virginia on Friday, Oct. 10. The talk is being offered in connection
with a gift to the U.Va. Library of historic documents linked to
Conversation with Dorothy I. Height” will be held at 4
p.m. in Alderman Library’s McGregor Room and will be followed
by a reception. The event, co-sponsored by the University Library,
the U.Va. Office of African American Affairs, the Carter G. Woodson
Institute for Afro-American and African Studies and the University’s
Minority Rights Coalition, is free and open to the public.
also will sign copies of her recently published book, “Open
Wide the Freedom Gates: A Memoir,” in the library’s
her work, Height has earned the NAACP Springarn Award, the Presidential
Medal of Freedom and many
other awards. She
First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt on human and civil rights, President
Eisenhower on desegregation and President Johnson on appointing
African-American women to sub-cabinet posts.
visit coincides with the gift to the library of historic
materials related to Wednesdays in Mississippi — an
inter-racial, inter-faith group of women, that she co-founded
to break down 1960s-era racial barriers.
materials are being donated by Holly Cowan Shulman, research
professor at U.Va. and daughter of Pauline
Cowan, who co-founded the Wednesdays
in Mississippi Project of 1963-65 with Height. At the time, Height
was president of the National Council of Negro Women and Cowan
was a board member of the
council and a member of the New York Citizens Committee
research materials strengthen the University Library’s
civil rights collections and will give students and scholars
insight into this unevenly
documented but critical time in our nation’s history,” said
University Librarian Karin Wittenborg.
project called on women — white
and black, Northern and Southern, Catholic, Protestant and Jewish — to
build bridges of understanding across racial and class barriers
and link the North and South in a national drive toward racial
justice. Influential women were recruited from six northern cities
to travel to Mississippi during the Freedom Summer of 1964, spending
their Wednesdays in
Mississippi, to bear witness to the civil rights struggle there.
has donated her mother’s notebook, which provides first-person
insight and commentary on the workings of the group, to the University
addition to Cowan’s notebook, the library has
received a diary, kept on a roll of shelf paper by Susan Goodwillie
Stedman, one of the first two staff
members to sign on with Wednesdays in Mississippi for the Freedom
also is conducting a related oral history project, interviewing
the 25 surviving members of Wednesdays in Mississippi.
transcripts to the library once the interviews are complete.
recent years, the University Library has made an effort to acquire
collections that document the history of African
and the South.
The library’s Special Collections Department has
478 collections noted in “Afro-American
Sources in Virginia: A Guide to Manuscripts,” published
in 1990 by the University Press of Virginia and compiled
by Michael Plunkett , director of special
the library’s notable collections
are the papers of the Southern Elections Fund, which includes
the professional and personal correspondence of
U.Va. historian and civil rights leader Julian Bond; the
Jackson Davis Collection, which contains nearly 6,000 photographs
of African-American schools, teachers
and students throughout the Southeast in the first half
of the 20th century; and the papers of Alice Jackson Stuart,
the first African American to apply to
graduate school at U.Va.
Charlotte Crystal, (434) 924-6858