Tag Archives: civil rights

Book talk at VCU – Scalawag: A White Southerner’s Journey Through Segregation to Human Rights Activism

When: March 18, 7:00-10:00 pm
Where: W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts, 922 Park Avenue, Richmond, VA 23284

VCU Libraries celebrates the release of the autobiography of noted civil-rights activist Dr. Edward H. Peeples, Jr., with an evening panel discussion featuring Dr. Peeples in a conversation on his life’s mission with his book contributors, Dr. Nancy MacLean and Dr. James H. Hershman, Jr., moderated by Dr. John Kneebone. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. A book signing and reception will follow.

This event is free and open to the public, but please register. Parking is available for a fee in the West Broad StreetWest Main Street and West Cary Street parking decks. If special accommodations are needed, or to register offline, please call (804) 828-0593 prior to March 14, 2014.

Special Collections and Archives at James Branch Cabell Library is home to the Edward H. Peeples, Jr. papers. For additional information about Peeples and his paper please see the finding aid found on Virginia Heritage.

About the book

Scalawag: A White Southerner’s Journey Through Segregation to Human Rights Activism is the autobiography of Dr. Edward H. Peeples, Jr. It tells the story of a white working-class youth who became an unlikely civil-rights activist. Born in 1935 in Richmond, where he was taken to segregated churches and sent to segregated schools, Peeples was taught the ethos and lore of white supremacy by the white adults around him. But by age nineteen, he had become what the these people called a “traitor to the race.”

At Richmond Professional Institute (the forerunner to VCU on the Monroe Park Campus), Peeples was encouraged by a lone teacher to think critically. Peeples found his way to the black freedom struggle and began a long career of activism. He challenged racism in his U.S. Navy unit and engaged in sit-ins and community organizing. Later, as a VCU professor, he agitated for good jobs, health care and decent housing for all; pushed for the creation of courses in African American studies at VCU in the early 1970s; and worked toward equal treatment for women, prison reform and more.

Covering fifty years’ participation in the civil-rights movement, Peeples’s gripping story brings to life an unsung activist culture to which countless forgotten individuals contributed, over time expanding their commitment from civil rights to other causes.

Scalawag Book Launch - Book Jacket

University of Mary Washington Celebrates James Farmer’s Civil Rights Legacy

James L. Farmer Records, 1980-1999, Special Collections, University of Mary Washington Image courtesy of CORE/Edward Hollander

James L. Farmer Records, 1980-1999, Special Collections, University of Mary Washington Image courtesy of CORE/Edward Hollander.
Photo depicts the second march to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965 in support of voting rights. The marchers were able to cross the Edmund Pettus bridge but were turned back by U.S. Marshals. From left to right: Fred Shuttlesworth, Martin Luther King, Jr., James Farmer, and James Forman (SNCC). In the foreground: Andrew Young.

In celebration of Black History Month and the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the University of Mary Washington honors distinguished professor Dr. James Farmer’s outstanding life and achievements.

Farmer was the founder of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and the organizer of the 1961 Freedom Rides. Combined with other non-violent acts, the Freedom Rides paved the way for the Kennedy and later Johnson administrations to align themselves more decisively in support of Civil Rights and the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Bill of 1964.

Materials documenting Farmer’s early civil rights contributions are housed at the University of Texas at Austin’s Briscoe Center for American History (see A Guide to the James Leonard, Jr., and Lula Peterson Farmer Papers.) Records from Farmer’s later years, along with a rich trove of audio-visual materials spanning his career are housed in UMW’s University Archives. Additional resources on Farmer’s civil rights legacy are available in the James Farmer and the Freedom Rides research guide and in the finding aid of his close friend and colleague, William B. Hanson, located in the Virginia Heritage database.