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Desegregation of Virginia Education (DOVE):Resources

Research and Teaching Resources

In addition to the TIMELINE of Virginia desegregation, DIGITAL COLLECTION of oral histories, and DOVE CATALOG of primary source materials, DOVE has compiled many more resources for researchers, teachers, and students.




For research and study, we are developing a guide listing desegregation resources by regions of Virginia:

We encourage users to suggest other useful resources. Contact Karen Vaughan kvaughan@odu.edu to suggest additional resources.


"Oral history collects memories and personal commentaries of historical significance through recorded interviews."

- Donald Ritchie, Doing Oral History: A Practical Guide, 2003

Oral history is a way to to collect information about the past from observers and participants in that past. DOVE offers the resources in this kit to teachers and historians who want to document the history of school desegregation in Virginia by interviewing those who lived it. If you use this kit's process and forms, the histories you collect may be added to the historic record through the online DOVE Collection of oral histories.

If your students will conduct the interviews, lead them through mock sessions so they can practice completing required forms, using the recording equipment, and asking open-ended questions. Show them how to pose follow-up questions that help the storyteller offer details.


  1. Gather background information
    • Learn about school desegregation in Virginia and in your local area.
    • Learn about the people you will interview.
  2. Formulate questions
    • Use open-ended questions that begin "why, how, where, what kind of" -- avoid yes/no answers.
    • Avoid leading or prejudicial questions.
    • Sample questions are available on the "Cue Card for Facilitator" form [link]
    • Practice asking the questions. Plan for possible follow-up questions that will help the storyteller tell a more complete story.
  3. Plan interview
    • Contact storyteller. Ask permission to conduct the interview and explain its purpose. Agree on location and time.
    • Send confirmation letter with Intake Form and Release Form.
    • Make sure you have the appropriate recording equipment (see Equipment tab) and that it is in working order. It is best to use two means of recording with audio and/or video. This ensures that at least one recording will be complete and audible.


Qualities of a good interviewer include empathy, flexibility, respect, and objectivity. Careful listening is critical.

"In order to handle the problem of interview bias, you must explore your own assumptions, values, and attitudes. An interview does not call for an impossible neutrality. It does demand special self-awareness and self-discipline." (UNC Southern Oral History Program, A Practical Guide to Oral History, page 6)

Before Recording

  1. Put the storyteller at ease by ensuring him or her that there are no "wrong" responses.
  2. Remind the storyteller of the purpose of the interview and the procedure you will follow.
  3. Assist the storyteller with completing the Intake Form if they haven't already done so. Be sure both storyteller and facilitator sign the Release Form.
  4. Make an effort to minimize all extraneous noise and distractions.


  1. Once the recorder is running, read the introduction statement on the Cue Card so that the recording includes the context for the interview -- mentioning DOVE, the date and place of the interview, and your name as facilitator.
  2. During the interview, focus only on the storyteller.
  3. State your questions as directly as possible.
  4. Don't let periods of silence fluster you.
  5. Avoid interrupting the storyteller. Rather, jot down a quick note that will remind you to ask follow-up questions at an opportune moment.
  6. You may need to stimulate the storyteller's memory or supply key facts or dates learned from your background research.
  7. Be respectful of the interviewee. Use body language [rather than verbal cues] to show you are interested in what he or she has to say. Remember, the interviewee is giving you the gift of his or her memories and experiences.
  8. At the end of the interview, thank the storyteller for sharing his or her experiences.

(adapted from 10 Tips for Interviewers UNC Southern Oral History Program)


  1. Send a thank-you to the storyteller.
  2. Transcribe audio if possible, typing the exact words of the interview into a document.
  3. Make a copy of the recording, transcription, and Intake and Release forms.
  4. Send audio/video file, transcription, audio file, original Intake Form, and original Release Form/Deed of Gift to:
  • Jessica Ritchie
    Head, Special Collections & University Archives
    Old Dominion University Libraries
    4427 Hampton Blvd.Norfolk, VA 23529
At the same time, send an email to jhritchi@odu.edu with a CC to dove.virginia@gmail.com, to let us know the materials are on the way.


Confirmation Letter

  • Tailor this letter for the individual storyteller and send it as a follow-up to your initial contact. Enclose the Oral History Intake Form and the Release Form/Deed of Gift. Ask the storyteller to complete these two forms and bring them to the interview.
Intake Form
  • Required for each storyteller. Have extra blank copy ready in case storyteller forgets to bring the completed form.
Release Form / Deed of Gift
  • Required for each storyteller. Have extra blank copy ready in case storyteller forgets to bring the completed form.
Interview Checklist
  • This optional form will help you track all materials if you are conducting multiple interviews.
Cue Card for Facilitator
  • Includes introduction statement for facilitator to record and offers suggested interview questions. May be adjusted as appropriate for each interview. Only the facilitator needs a copy of this.
PDF copy of this Tool Kit


It is always a good idea to have an experienced technician available to record the interview. Using two means of recording with audio and/or video will ensure that at least one recording will be complete and audible. Be sure to test the interview equipment long before the interview, so that any adjustments can be made.

Make sure you have fresh, extra batteries or a place to plug in equipment.

Good sound is essential to a good listening experience and a good transcription. Minimize extraneous sounds during the interview. A good external mic can greatly improve sound quality.

Audio interviews:

  • Use a digital audio recorder with external microphone if possible
  • Acceptable file formats: wav, mp3, acc

Video interviews:

  • Use a digital video camera if possible
  • Acceptable file formats: avi, mp4, mov


PDF copy of this Tool Kit


The DOVE Project has unearthed many primary source materials that can be used by teachers at all levels. This page brings together several types of resources that teachers can utilize in crafting lesson plans using primary source materials about school desegregation.

Please note that the majority of materials in the DOVE Catalog are only available in print. Be sure to contact the source in advance.


  • Common Core: State Standards Initiative ... "a set of high-quality academic standards in mathematics and English language arts/literacy (ELA).... Forty-two states, the District of Columbia, four territories, and the Department of Defense Education Activity (DoDEA) have voluntarily adopted and are moving forward with the Common Core."


  • Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Dedicated to reducing prejudice, improving intergroup relations and supporting equitable school experiences for our nation's children. They provide free educational materials to teachers and other school practitioners in the U.S. and Canada.
    • Segregation Forever? The story of Ruby Bridges, with New Orleans as a case study. Presents highlights from a study (Reece and O'Connell) that shows how the history of slavery shapes present-day patterns of school segregation. Offers a student activity.
    • Perspectives for a Diverse America. A literacy-based curriculum that marries anti-bias social justice content with the rigor of the Common Core State Standards.
  • TeachArchives.org. An innovative resource for teachers, administrators, librarians, archivists, and museum educators. It offers sample exercises and informative articles based on a new approach to teaching in the archives.
  • Library of Congress - Teaching with Primary Sources. Offers classroom materials and professional development to help teachers effectively use primary sources from the Library's vast digital collections in their teaching. Find Library of Congress lesson plans and more that meet Common Core standards, state content standards, and the standards of national organizations.
    • Documenting the American South. Classroom Resources. Highlights the rich educational resources available through DocSouth.


Featured: Lesson plans and curriculum projects produced from the Summer 2015 NEH summer institute "The Long Road from Brown: School Desegregation in Virginia."


  • Timeline of School Desegregation in Virginia (DOVE)
  • Timeline of School Desegregation in Norfolk, Virginia (Old Dominion University's School Desegregation in Norfolk, Virginia digital collection)
  • This American Life: The Problem We All Live With, Part 1 and Part 2. In this radio show/podcast, New York Times Magazine Reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones makes the case that only one kind of school reform has worked to close the achievement gap between white and non-white students - school integration.


  • Manfra, M.M. (2009). Authentic intellectual work on school desegregation: The digital history of massive resistance in Norfolk, Virginia. Social Education, 73(3), 131-135. (Access for NCSS members.)


A Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshop, sponsored by Old Dominion University and Virginia Commonwealth University with support from The National Endowment for the Humanities, was held in 2015 and 2017. Attendees learned the hidden history of school desegregation in Virginia following the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision. Workshops included interacting with leading scholars in the field, visiting historic sites and archives, and discussing curricular and instructional strategies related to this subject.

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