Events 2014



Celebrate Spring with Curtis Morton

Saturday May 3, 2014 | 2 pm

Isabella Gibbons Local History Center

Dahlias were found in Mexico by Spaniards during the 16th century and today are considered to be one of the most spectacular flowers in a garden. Curtis Morton is considered to be our community’s foremost expert on the growing of these beautiful perennials. Join us for a conversation with Morton and learn how to plant, care-for and even eat their flowers, leaves and roots!


Dismantling Jim Crow:

1954 -1974

Monday, May 12, 2014
Tuesday, May 13, 2014
Thursday, May 15, 2014


2014 is a significant year as it marks the anniversaries of three important events in America’s history—the settling of the landmark court case Brown vs. Board of Education, the passing of the Civil Rights Act, and the advent of the Boston busing riots. Over the course of three days we will look at these events through three films and a conversation with Mildred W. Robinson, Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Professor of Law at the University of Virginia, about her book Law Touched Our Hearts: A Generation Remembers Brown v. Board of Education.

May 12 | 5:30 PM

Separate But Equal (1991) 193 min

Separate but Equal was first shown as a television mini-series so it is 3 hours long. Based on the groundbreaking Brown vs. the Board of Education case, the film follows a young Thurgood Marshall (Sidney Poitier) as a lawyer who argues the racially charged lawsuit before the Supreme Court. When the black students of Clarendon County, South Carolina are denied their request for a single school bus, a bitter and courageous battle for justice and equality begins. The NAACP lawyer’s desperate fight for the civil rights that didn’t come with the outlaw of slavery nearly a century ago becomes an all-encompassing struggle both in his personal life as well as the courtroom. Marshall’s opponent is John W. Davis (Burt Lancaster) and the two argue passionately and eloquently before a Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Earl Warren (Richard Kiley). Separate But Equal is a moving and human dramatization of one of the most pivotal court cases in American history.
Suggested donation $5.00

May 13 | 6 PM

Can We Talk? Learning from Boston’s Busing/Desegregation Crisis (2012) 56 min

The Boston busing crisis (1974–1988) was a series of protests and riots that occurred in Boston, Massachusetts in response to the passing of the 1965 Racial Imbalance Act, which ordered public schools in the state to desegregate. The legislation provoked outrage from white Bostonians and led to widespread protests and violent public disturbances. The conflict lasted for over a decade and contributed to a demographic shift in Boston public schools, with dramatically fewer students enrolling in public schools and more white families sending their children to private schools instead. Can We Talk? was produced, written and directed by media producer Scott Mercer and filmed by Justin Shannahan. The film offers powerful stories of the 1970’s busing/desegregation crisis that changed Boston forever. Most of those in the film have never publicly shared their stories.
Suggested donation $5.00

May 13 | 7 PM

Discussion with Mildred W. Robinson,
Henry L. and Grace Doherty Charitable Foundation Professor of Law, University of Virginia

Mildred Robinson’s book Law Touched Our Hearts: A Generation Remembers Brown v. Board of Education stands alone in presenting, in one source, stories of black and white Americans, men and women, from all parts of the nation, who were public school students during the years immediately after Brown vs. Board of Education. All shared an epiphany. Some became aware of race and the burden of racial separation. Others dared to hope that the yoke of racial oppression would at last be lifted. Robinson and her co-editors surveyed 4750 law professors born between 1936 and 1954, received 1000 responses, and derived forty essays from those willing to write personal accounts of their childhood experiences in the classroom and in their communities. Their moving stories of how Brown affected them say much about race relations then and now. They also provide a picture of how social change can shape the careers of an entire generation in one profession.

May 15 | 6:30 PM

A Class Apart (2009) 49 min

A Class Apart is the first major film to bring to life the heroic post-World War II struggles of Mexican Americans against the Jim Crow-style discrimination targeted against them. A Class Apart is built around the landmark 1951 legal case Hernandez v. Texas, in which an underdog band of Mexican Americans from Texas bring a case all the way to the Supreme Court – and win. The film begins with a murder in a gritty small-town cantina and follows the legal journey of the Hernandez lawyers through the Texas courts and ultimately to the United States Supreme Court.

We see them forge a daring legal strategy that called their own racial identities into question by arguing that Mexican Americans were “a class apart” who did not neatly fit into a legal structure that only recognized blacks and whites.


Using Genealogy Resources

Jean Cooper
Genealogical Resources Specialist,
University of Virginia Library

May 24, 2014 | 10 am – 2 pm
Isabella Gibbons Local History Center

Genealogy is one of the most popular pastimes in the United States. Led by Jean Cooper, Genealogical Resources Specialist at the University of Virginia library, this 4 hour course seeks to introduce the beginner in genealogy to concepts such as what genealogy is, why people enjoy it, basic research guidelines, what resources to use, and gives some general advice for the genealogist. These presentations will also discuss how to use the U.S. Census in genealogical research, how newspapers can be useful in historical research, and what useful online resources are available for the genealogist.

Taught in the Heritage Center’s Isabella Gibbons Local History Research Center, the course will also familiarize participants with the research resources available at the African American Heritage Center.