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 Street, West 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.