Laura Browder is a professor of American Studies at the University of Richmond in Virginia. She recently teamed up with photographer Brian Palmer to capture 30 powerful testimonies from all walks of life in Richmond during the mid-20th century — a turbulent cultural era that saw the first integration of previously racially segregated schools in the region. The results culminate in an emotional exhibition titled Growing Up in Civil Rights Richmond and offers an invaluable record of American history from those who actually lived it.
Here, Browder speaks with BuzzFeed News on her experience researching this project and shares with us a selection of Brian Palmer’s inspiring portraits from the series.
What has been your focus for this exhibition and where did research begin for you?
Growing Up in Civil Rights Richmond focuses on the experiences of Richmonders, black and white, who were actively involved in the civil rights movement as children or teenagers — as protesters, attending schools in the process of desegregation, or as the children of prominent activists whose parents’ work affected their lives.
I have been working on oral history–based, civil rights–focused projects in Richmond since 1999, when I wrote my first oral history–based drama about a historic black neighborhood that was being squeezed out by the university where I then taught, Virginia Commonwealth University — but have been able to accelerate the pace of this work since moving to the University of Richmond in 2010.
more recommended stories
The Forgotten Story of How 13 Black Men Broke the Navy’s Toughest Color Barrier
In 1942, a group of African.
Ron Finley’s gardening MasterClass will teach you how to grow food & change your life
Because gardening is so much more.
Lillian Fishburne, U.S. Navy’s first African-American female rear admiral
Lillian Fishburne is one of the.
‘Economic duress is nothing new’: Can America’s oldest black bookstore survive the pandemic?
Oakland’s Marcus Books has remained a.
4 Minneapolis Police Officers Fired Over George Floyd Death
The move comes comes after a.
A story to tell after 30 years of wrongful imprisonment
Imagine spending 30 years of your.
President George Washington Offers Reward for Capture of Black Woman Fleeing Enslavement
On May 23, 1796, a newspaper.
Nekesa Mumbi Moody Named Editorial Director at Hollywood Reporter
The editor joins from the Associated.
The Photos That Lifted Up the Black Is Beautiful Movement
For over 50 years, the photographer.
How White Backlash Controls American Progress
The word backlash gained popularity in the summer.