UVa Archiving Civil Rights Era News Footage from Roanoke

August 6, 2013

The University of Virginia Library is undertaking one of its biggest projects ever, to try to create an archive of news film from Virginia's Civil Rights era.

The only surviving television news clips from that era are believed to be the collection of footage and scripts from WSLS in Roanoke.

The preservation team at UVa libraries is going through more than 13,000 clips and 18,000 original scripts from between 1951 and 1971, to give an idea of how life was back then.

Additionally, they're creating an online archive that the public can eventually access.

"Moving images are this unique way of discovering our past," says Head of Preservation Services Kara McClurken. "You can read about it in books, you can hear people talk about it, but to actually be able to see the images, to see the students who are entering integrated schools for the first time, even to see cars and cultural kinds of things... It was more of a question of how can we not try and do this."

You can already access about 3,600 film clips through UVa's online catalog, Virgo.

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