From Porch Swings to Patios: Oral History Project

Interview of Ray Bell on December 22, 1980.

Ray Bell was born in the early 1930s in a home on Vinegar Hill. His father had arrived in Charlottesville in 1917 to open a funeral home, having been recruited by his first cousin, along with other black professionals, to move from Petersburg, Virginia. Bell was an active member of the Charlottesville branch of the NAACP, and describes its work on membership growth, voter registration, and campaigns to support African Americans in municipal government positions as well as the Allen vs. VA Board of Education desegregation case. Bell himself was the first black appointed to the Charlottesville School Board in 1963. He describes conditions in the segregated black ward of UVA hospital and the politics of desegregating the hospital. He also discusses his work as Chairman of the NAACP Education Committee in the late 1970s and the causes of underperformance of African American children in standardized competency tests.

Listen to the Interview (47 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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