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The ‘Deseg’ Center on WTJU


Mothers bringing children to Venable School, Charlottesville, on the first day of integration. 1959. Courtesy of Venable School.In 1967, to facilitate school desegregation in Virginia, U.Va.‘s Curry School of Education established the Consultative Resource Center. The Deseg Center, as it came to be known, helped public schools solve problems remaining after desegregation. Ellen Daniels spoke about the center with researchers Eleanor Wilson, Associate Professor in Teacher Education, and Patrice Preston Grimes, Associate Dean in the U.Va. Office of African-American Affairs and an Assistant Professor of Social Studies Education at U.Va.‘s  Curry School of Education. “It’s a story long overdue in being told,” said Grimes. The center’s philosophy was based on the belief that dialogue across racial lines would smooth the desegregation process.

You can listen to the WTJU interview online.

Over its 14 years, the Deseg Center provided resources to school systems in Virginia, Maryland, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. The Center contributed significantly to the integration of the public schools, yet its impact is difficult to measure. Mention of the center, though, continues to evoke impassioned memories from those who worked to bring about change in the schools of Virginia and the surrounding states.  Recently, original center members spoke on a panel at the Curry School, about what it meant to be an African American working for justice for children in the schools of Virginia in the late 1960s, said Wilson.  “The importance lives on,” she said.  “In many ways [these] are issues that we still face today.” 

*Some content taken from “The Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia 1905-2005,” a history of the Curry School of Education, by Eleanor Wilson.

This interview was rebroadcast by WTJU on Feb. 21, 2013.

More on the Deseg Center: Curry Magazine’s “A Curry Role in Virginia School Desegregation

Curry Hosts Four Heros of Desegregation

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