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UVA Health Historical Research

Black Experiences

Black Experiences at UVA Health Historical Resource Guide

Pioneers

The Claude Moore Health Sciences Library maintains a list of Black pioneers in the history of UVA Health. We recognize that this list is incomplete and will add to it over time. If you would like to request a change or addition, email us at cmhslhc@virginia.edu.

Exhibits and Online Resources

  • William M. Womack, M.D. 1936-2020:  Dr. William M. Womack's family created this online multimedia resource to honor his life and work. Born in Lynchburg, Virginia, Dr. Womack was one of the first Black students in the University of Virginia School of Medicine. After leaving Charlottesville, Dr. Womack had a long and remarkable career in child psychiatry, and helped advance LGBTQ issues in child psychiatry on a national scale. He was a member of the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (AGLP) and co-founder of the Lesbian and Gay Child Adolescent Psychiatric Association (LAGCAPA). The multimedia resource includes photographs, interviews, stories, and other content. A copy of this resource is being preserved at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library with the permission of Dr. Womack's family.

  • Black Fire at UVA. Black Fire is a "multimedia initiative documenting the struggle for social justice and racial equality at the University of Virginia." The site focuses on the history of the academic side of the University, and includes alumni interviews and links to primary source documents. UVA Professor Claudrena Harold created Black Fire and maintains the resource.

  • Trailblazing Against Tradition: The Public History of Desegregation at the University of Virginia 1955-1975. Atima Omara-Alwala (UVA Class of 2003) created this online exhibit to tell the history of Black student experiences at UVA from 1955 to 1975. The site includes a historical timeline, biographical profiles, and historical narratives. The project was funded by a Student Research Award from the David A. Harrison undergraduate Research Award Fund.

  • UVA History: From a Black Perspective. "This is an interactive timeline that reviews the history of the University of Virginia with an emphasis on enslaved laborers, Black students, and racial disparities. The information included on this timeline was compiled through research from the President's Commission on Slavery and the University and the President's Commission on the Age of Segregation." Nadine Michel, an MSTP student at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, developed this resource. She recorded a video talking to first-year medical students at the School of Medicine about why she made the timeline and what she would want them to know as new students coming into Charlottesville.

Books, Articles, and Presentations

Below is a list of books, articles, and presentations related to the history of the Black experience at UVA Health. The list is arranged in chronological order.

Oral Histories, Interviews, and Conversations

This is a list of known oral histories and interviews arranged in chronological order that document the history of the Black experience at UVA Health. Whenever possible, we include a direct link to an online version of the resource. When that is not possible, we provide a link to a catalog record that will indicate how you can access the resource at one of the University of Virginia's libraries.

  • Interview of Ray Bell, 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."

  • Interview of Angela Brown, April 3, 1989: Angela Brown shares her experiences at the University of Virginia Hospital, both as a patient and as an employee for more than 40 years (circa the 1930s to 1970s). Mrs. Brown talks about her employment at the Hospital, her experiences as an African American patient in a period of racial segregation, the effects of racial integration on the Hospital, and stories about several physicians she worked with.

  • Interview of Randolph White, circa 1990: In 2019, the Daily Progress printed an article about Randolph White, an early civil rights leader in Charlottesville, the founding editor of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Tribune, and a distinguished employee of UVA Hospital. The article contains excerpts of an interview that a Daily Progress reporter conducted around 1990.

  • Julian Bond Interviews Dr. Vivian Pinn, 2007: Julian Bond conducted this interview of Dr. Vivian Pinn (UVA SOM Class of 1967) as part of a series on Black leadership directed by Bond and Phyliss Leffler. During the conversation, Dr. Pinn shares stories about her childhood, education, experiences as a Black woman attending the UVA School of Medicine during the 1960s, and her distinguished career in Medicine. Julian Bond and Dr. Pinn also engage in a discussion about leadership. 

  • Interview of Dr. William Womack, 2009: Dr. William Womack (UVA SOM Class of 1961) shares his experiences as one of the first Black medical students at the University of Virginia.

  • HistoryMakers Interview of Dr. Vivian Pinn, 2013: Dr. Vivian Pinn (SOM Class of 1967) is interviewed by Larry Crowe for the HistoryMakers project. In this 8 part interview, Dr. Pinn recalls her family history, childhood, early education, and her time at the University of Virginia School of Medicine. She also discusses her medical career and pathology research, the National Medical Association, and issues related to Black women's health.

  • Interview of Dr. Vivian Pinn, 2017: Dr. Maurice Apprey, UVA Dean of African American Affairs and Professor of Psychiatric Medicine, interviews Dr. Vivian Pinn (UVA SOM Class of 1967). Dr. Pinn shares stories about her experiences as the only woman and African American in her class at the School of Medicine. She also discusses her relationship with the University of Virginia after receiving her medical degree. This interview is published in the book, "The Key to the Door: Early Experiences of African American Students at the University of Virginia."

  • Interview of Dr. William Womack, 2017: Dr. William Womack (UVA SOM Class of 1961) shares stories about his childhood, experiences at UVA as one of the earliest Black students in the School of Medicine, and his later medical career. This interview is published in the book "The Key to the Door: Early Experiences of African American Students at the University of Virginia.

  • Interview of Dr. Barbara Starks Favazza, 2017: Dr. Barbara Starks Favazza (UVA SOM Class of 1966) shares her experience as the first Black woman to attend and graduate from the UVA School of Medicine. She also shares stories about her childhood, early interest in medicine, participation in the Civil Rights Movement, and later medical career. The interview is published in the book, "The Key to the Door: Early Experiences of African American Students at the University of Virginia."

  • A Conversation with Mavis Claytor, April 7, 2017: Mavis Claytor (UVA SON MSN 1985, BSN 1970) shares stories about her early life, her experiences as the first Black degree student in the UVA School of Nursing, and her distinguished career in nursing. The conversation was moderated by UVA SON PhD student Tori Tucker and was held in front of a large public audience. Ms. Claytor also takes questions from the audience. The program ends with a formal apology to Ms. Claytor from the UVA School of Nursing.  

  • Interview of Dr. Marcus Martin, May 6, 2019: Dr. Marcus Martin, former Chair of the UVA Department of Emergency Medicine and Vice President and Chief Officer for Diversity and Equity at UVA, shares stories about his life and career with UVA SOM alumnus Dr. Rick Green (UVA SOM Class of 1970). The discussion covers several topics including Dr. Martin's early education, his experiences building the UVA Department of Emergency Medicine, and his work with diversity and equity initiatives at the University.

  • Jackson P. Burley High School's Segregated Black Licensed Practical Nursing Program, Medical Center Hour Presentation, October 2, 2019: Two graduates of the UVA-Jackson P. Burley Hgh School Licensed Practical Nursing Program, Clariece Coles Harris (UVA SON Class of 1954) and Evelyn Rodgers Gardner (UVA SON Class of 1959), participate in this public program at the University of Virginia. UVA SON PhD student Tori Tucker moderates the discussion which includes stories about the life, education, and careers of Mrs. Harris and Gardner.

  • Oral History of Dr. Edward Thomas Wood, September 2021: Dr. Edward Wood (UVA SOM Class of 1957) participates in this oral history interview with former Dean of the UVA School of Medicine, Dr. David Wilkes. Dr. Wood shares stories about his childhood, his experiences as of the first two Black medical students at UVA, and his distinguished career in ophthalmology. 

Records and Other Archival Materials

Newspapers and Newsletters (in chronological order)
  • The Beam, 1947-1948: UVA's Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library has copies of The Beam from 1947 and 1948. It was the newsletter for UPW-CIO Local 550. During the 1940s, Black workers at UVA Hospital organized this union to improve staff compensation and working conditions.

  • The Charlottesville Tribune, 1950-1951: The Charlottesville Tribune served the Black communities of the Albemarle-Charlottesville region between 1950 and 1951. Several articles document Black experiences at UVA Health and the local campaign to desegregate the Hospital.

  • The Drawsheet, 1951-1989 [In Process]: The Drawsheet was the internal newsletter for staff members at the University of Virginia Hospital and Medical Center. In its early years, Hospital staff produced the newsletter, and in later decades, professional communications staff published it. Issues of The Drawsheet, particularly during the 1950s, contain biographical profiles of Black hospital staff and reports on the activities of the racially integrated Employee Coordinating Committee. The Drawsheet is currently being processed into the UVA Medical Center Records Group. Contact the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library at cmhslhc@virginia.edu to inquire about access to digital copies of this resource.

  • The Tribune: The Charlottesville Tribune merged with the Roanoke Tribune around 1951 and became the Tribune. The Tribune served the Black communities of the Albemarle-Charlottesville region until 1954. Several articles document Black experiences at UVA Health and the local campaign to desegregate the Hospital.

  • The Charlottesville-Albemarle Tribune, 1954-1992: Randolph White, a Charlottesville civil rights leader, and UVA Hospital employee, founded this newspaper to serve Black communities in the Albemarle-Charlottesville region. Many articles in the paper document Black experiences at UVA Health and community relationships with the organization.

 
Video Content (in chronological order)
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