From Porch Swings to Patios: Oral History Project

Interview of Booker Reaves on November 7, 1980.

A native of Charlottesville, Booker Reaves went through the Jefferson School, on to Hampton Institute and Howard University, and then back to Charlottesville to teach at Jefferson School in 1939, becoming Assistant Principal in 1947. From 1951 through 1955 Reaves earned an advanced degree from the School of Education at the University of Virginia, the first black to graduate from the University's graduate school. Reaves describes Charlottesville's school system and the NAACP's legal battle to integrate schools in Charlottesville as well as the Massive Resistance movement against integration. Reaves tells two "myths" behind the Vinegar Hill name, and names several black neighborhoods in the Vinegar Hill area, also in cases providing the name's origin. He lists some black busineses, churches, social organizations, fraternities and sororities prominent in Vinegar Hill. Reaves comments on the apparent harmony among Vinegar Hill residents despite differences in weath and homeowning versus renting status. He concludes that "the segregated days were not all bad days" in terms of community cohesion, and that the Vinegar Hill project was a good thing black people in terms of standards of living.

Listen to the Interview (35 minutes long):     28.8K     56.6K     Other

From Porch Swings to Patios: An Oral History of Charlottesville's Neighborhoods Prepared by the Department of Community Planning Advisory Board and students of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, 1982 - 1984.

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