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Special Collections & Archives Research Guide

Learn how to access, use and experiment with primary resources in the learning laboratory!


Girls pose on the beach at Camp E. W. YoungThis guide describes collections relating to African-American History and Culture housed in the Special Collections of the Old Dominion University Library. While some of these collections have not been generated by African-Americans, they do relate to the African-American experience in Hampton Roads and Virginia and at Old Dominion University.

While we have identified these collections as particularly useful for researching this topic, African American history and culture is represented in many of our collections. To search all of our collections, please use our Collection Guides DatabaseRevised: 9/2021

Archives and Manuscripts

Lawrence M. Cox, Sr. Papers, 1902-2002, undated (MG 38) Material relating to Norfolk's urban redevelopment

Allan G. Donn Papers (MG 106) Contains court documents relating to school desegregation in Prince Edward County, Norfolk, and Richmond, Virginia, as well as North Carolina.

Michael D'Orso Collection on the Rosewood Massacre (MG 67) Contains notes, oral history transcripts, and research material collected by Michael D'Orso while writing Like Judgment Day: The Ruin and Redemption of a Town Called Rosewood, about the racially motivated massacre of an African American community in Florida in 1923.

Charles Ford Papers (MG 103) Items on African American Community Involvement from 2005-2010 and articles regarding school desegregation.

Niles' Weekly Register Concerning Nat Turner Slave Rebellion (MG 140) Contains two issues of Niles' Weekly Register, published in Baltimore, Maryland, concerning Nat Turner's rebellion in Southampton, Virginia in 1831.

Ocean View, Seaside, and Seaview Amusement Parks Collection (MG 31) Information on Seaview Amusement Park which was part of the African American community from 1946-1965.

Unitarian Universalist Church of Norfolk Records (MG 122) Material related to African American Universalism in the Tidewater Region.

Forrest P. White (MG 5)Edith R. White (MG 109) & Forrest R. “Hap” White (MG 96) These collections contain information on efforts to end Massive Resistance and desegregation of schools in Norfolk, Virginia, as well as urban renewal.

Women’s Council for Interracial Cooperation Records (MG 54) Contains items pertaining to the Women's Council for Interracial Cooperation (WCIC) an organization of white and black women that were devoted to fostering racial harmony.

Women’s Edition of the Recorder Newspaper (MG 129) Consists of Volume 1, Issue 36 (August 31, 1895) of the Women's Edition of the Recorder, an African American newspaper in Norfolk, Virginia. Some of the topics discussed in the articles include the duties of society, what to eat, and the need for kindergarten in education.

YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association) (MG 76) Contains information on the Phyllis Wheatley Branches of the YWCA in Washington D.C. and Norfolk, VA and Camp E.W. Young.

University Archives

The University Archives preserve the history of Old Dominion University. Information about ODU’s history is scattered across archival collections from various departments, organizations, student groups, colleges, individual faculty members, etc. For help searching the University Archives collections, contact the University Archivist at and/or use our Guide on Researching ODU History

The following collections provide a good starting point for researching African American history at ODU:

Old Dominion University Photographic and Multimedia Collection (RG 32) * Contains the history of ODU thought photographs. Print photographs from 1930 to 2004 have been digitized and are available to search and download online through the ODU Libraries Digital Collections at Has a wealth of photographs related to student life and student organizations

Mace & Crown: The student newspaper of ODU since 1961 Contains news related to students, including the first African American to receive an undergraduate degree, and other firsts.

ODU Yearbooks* Yearbooks contain information about student life, including photographs of students. There is a gap from 1972-1987.

Office of Institutional Research and Assessment Records (RG 5-18A) Includes factbooks containing statistics for students at ODU, including breakdown by race, gender, etc.

Coalition of Black Faculty and Administrators (CBFA) Records (RG 36-3A) Organizational records for the African American faculty and administrators organization at ODU. Contains minutes and agendas of meetings, newsletters, correspondence, and reports

Music Special Collections

Frank and Carmela Guida/Rockmasters International Network, Inc. Collection, 1940-2008 (MG 128) This collection contains both the personal papers of Frank and Carmela Guida, as well as the records of Frank's music business, including Rockmasters International Network Inc. The bulk of the collection consists of the records related to Rockmasters International Network, Inc. and includes correspondence, administrative records, photographs of artists and Guida's record stores, audiovisual material produced by Guida, and recording equipment used by Guida while recording the music he produced. Artists include Gary “U.S. Bonds” Anderson, Jimmy Soul (James McCleese), and Lenis Guess.

Gene Loving Productions Promotional Material circa 1963-1979 (MG 139) This collection contains administrative records, news clippings, photographs and other promotional material related to concerts and performances organized by Gene Loving Productions in the Hampton Roads area. Musical acts include The Supremes, The Temptations, James Brown, Jimi Hendrix, and The Jackson 5.

Harvey Stokes Papers, 1980-2004 (DCR MG 7) This collection includes correspondence, programs, publicity material, as well as newspaper articles concerning the work of composer Harvey J. Stokes (b. 1957). Stokes is a Professor of Music at Hampton University, where he is the founder and director of the Computer Music Laboratory.

Adolphus Hailstork Papers (currently being processed, available by request) This collection includes scores of original compositions, awards, publicity material, and concert programs relating to the life and works of Adolphus Hailstork (b. 1941).

Digitized Collections

Oral History Collection Oral histories provide important personal accounts of historical events. Over 100 oral histories, available on audio cassette in Perry Library's Special Collections, have been digitized and made available here. The majority of these materials are interviews with former and present administrators, faculty, and staff of Old Dominion University, compiled during research on various stages in the university's history. Additional interviews were conducted with members of the Tidewater community and others. More interviews will be added as they are conducted.

Vivian Carter Mason Interviews, 1978 (MG 53)  Includes audio cassettes and transcripts that document her family history, civil rights in Norfolk, establishment of the Women’s Council for Interracial Cooperation, the desegregation crisis in Norfolk, and the experiences of African Americans in Norfolk.

Desegregation of Virginia Education (DOVE) Collection (MG 104)  This collection contains various materials regarding school desegregation throughout Virginia.

Norfolk 1919 Photograph Collection (MG 69)  This collection is a portfolio of 46 photographic prints taken by an unknown photographer in November 1919 depicting mostly Immigrant and African American business communities of Downtown Norfolk, as well as women’s clothing stores.

Norfolk Public Schools Desegregation Collection (MG 92)  This collection contains material related to the integration of the Norfolk public schools.

ODU Photograph Collection The ODU Photographic Collection (RG 32) from the University Archives print collection contains over 20,000 photos relating to the University’s history from the 1930s to the early 2000s. 

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