Browse Exhibits (2 total)
While the professional experiences of Calfee teachers can be found through written sources, the impact that they had exists in the memories of their former students. Oral history has the opportunity to change historical understanding, specifically in Black Appalachian communities. Oral history documents social facts through the recording of personal testimony. By comparing the written and oral history records together, historians can get a more complete understanding of the past.
Oral history interviews serve as examples of memories. Interviewees used in this exhibition include former students:
- Kim Edmonds
- Julius Fuller
- Phillip Gravely
- Rozema Payne Grubb
- Troy Hampton
- Reverend Gary Hash
- Dr. Mickey Hickman
- Marva Hickman
- Mattie Holmes
- Arthur Meadows
- Douglas Patterson
- George Penn
- Lane Penn
- Michael Porter
- Joann Releford
- Carolyn Smith
- Richard Smith
- Robert Smith
Calfee Training School was open from 1894 to 1966. In the beginning, Calfee taught first grade through ninth grade. After a fire took down the original building in 1939, the rebuilt school only offered up to the seventh grade. The former students interviewed include the later generation of Calfee students. Teachers, who taught in earlier decades, are not represented in this exhibit.
Explored in this exhibit is the court case, won by Pulaski residents, that paved the way for Brown v. Board of Education (1954) and the end of racialized segregation in public schools. Corbin et al. v. School Board of Pulaski County, supported by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), fought for equal facilities between Black and white schools. Local doctor and activist, Dr. Percy Corbin, served as the plaintiff in the case on behalf of his son: Mahatma. The case became part of the local class action lawsuits oversaw by Thurgood Marshall and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The goal was to equalize the public education between the two races. Shortly after the case, the NAACP switched strategies and began fighting for school desegregation.
Plaintiffs, the parents, and students who signed onto the case, include:
- Mahatma N. Corbin by P. C. Corbin, his father
- Naomi Thomas by F. D. Thomas, her father
- Hilton Murphy by Anna G. Murphy, his mother
- Oscar Johnson by O. L. Johnson, his father
- Jean O. Holmes by W. O. Holmes, her father
- John S. Dyer by Henry Dyer, his father
- Ruth Holt and Juanita Taylor by James R. Marton, their guardian
- Mary D. Holt by Randall C. Holt, her father
- Edith B. Redd by Josephine Redd, her mother
- Oscar Smith and Edith Smith by William A. Smith, their father
- Alerene Brown and Frances Brown by Hattie M. Brown, their mother
- Roberta Garner and Jean Garner by Earl F. Garner, their father
- Robert Smith, Jr. and Letha Mae Smith by Robert L. Smith, their father
- Sadie Safewright and Henry Safewright by Rena Safewright, their mother
- Henry H. Peoples, Willie F. Peoples, Mary E. Peoples by J. T. Peoples, their father
- Frances Stiger, Margaret Stiger, Jean Stigger, Harrietta Stiger, and Peggy Stigger by Harry Stiger, their father
- Billie Truehart, Garland Truehart, and George Truehart by Irving Truehart, their father
- Henry Muse, Frances Muse, James Muse, and Sonja Muse by Raymond Muse, their father
- Richard A. Slaughter, Nathaniel Slaughter, Perry Slaughter, and Joyce C. Slaughter by Juanita Slaughter, their mother
- George Finley, James Finley, and Josephine Finley by Henry Finley, their father
- Rosetta Hunt and Sallie Hunt by Robert Hunt, their father
- Mary L. Austin, Mollie Austin, and Nannie B. Austin by Isaac Austin, their father
- Charles W. Montgomery and Alberta Montgomery by Lawrence Montgomery, their father
- James M. Conner, Viola Conner, Nick Conner, and Willis Connor by Henry R. Conner, their father
Sources used in this exhibit include:
- “Appeals Court Hears Negro Schools Case: Pulaski Pupils Carry Issue to High Tribunal,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, (Richmond, Virginia), October 19, 1949: 6.
- Arthur Bunyan Caldwell, History of the American Negro and His Institutions, (Atlanta, Ga.: A. B. Caldwell Publishing Co.), 1917: 388-390, https://archive.org/details/historyofamerica05cald/page/n1/mode/2up.
- Associated Press, “Lawyers Plan Action to End Segregation In Farmville Schools,” The Evening Star, (Washington D.C.), May 3, 1951: B.
- “Brief History of the Virginia State Conference NAACP,” Virginia State Conference NAACP, https://naacpva.org/history/.
- “County Ordered To Provide Equal Education Facilities,” Pulaski Southwest Times (Pulaski, Va.), November 21, 1950: 1.
- “Court Orders Pulaski School Equalization: Judge Enjoins County After Appeal of Case,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, (Richmond, Virginia), November 21, 1950: 7.
- “Dr. Percy Casino Corbin Sr.,” Find A Grave, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/39911436/percy-casino-corbin#.
- Frank Walin, “1952 to See More Attacks on Segregation: NAACP No Longer Content to Fight For Equal Facilities, Officials Say,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, (Richmond, Virginia), December 27, 1951.
- Jackson Sasser and Dictionary of Virginia Biography, “Armistead M. Dobie (1811-1962),” Encyclopedia Virginia, December 22, 2021, https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/dobie-armistead-m-1881-1962/.
- John Jackson, “Pulaski’s Calfee Training School,” Virginia Tech Special Collections and University Archives, January 14, 2021, https://scuablog.lib.vt.edu/author/jojacks2/.
- Margaret Edds, “We Face the Dawn: Significant Court Cases,” 2009, https://www.margaretedds.com/significant-court-cases.
- Mike Williams, “Flu Epidemic: Exactly 100 Years Ago This Week, Deaths Started Occurring in Pulaski County from the Great Spanish Flu Epidemic of 1918,” (Pulaski, Virginia: The Patriot), September 30, 2018, https://pcpatriot.com/flu-epidemic-exactly-100-years-ago-this-week-deaths-started-occurring-in-pulaski-county-from-the-great-spanish-flu-epidemic-of-1918/.
- N. Tripp & Dictionary of Virginia Biography, “Percy C. Corbin (1888–1952),” Encyclopedia Virginia, December 22, 2021, https://encyclopediavirginia.org/entries/corbin-percy-c-1888-1952.
- “Percy Casino Corbin,” Virginia Changemakers, Library of Virginia, https://edu.lva.virginia.gov/changemakers/items/show/33.
- “School Desegregation and Civil Rights Stories: Pulaski County, Virginia,” National Archives, October 29, 2019. https://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/desegregation/pulaski.html.
- University of Virginia, Arthur J. Morris Law Library Special Collections, Papers of Judge John Paul, MSS 81-7, Box 27.