Virtual Event | "Remembering the Freedom of Choice Initiative: Implementing Local Oral History Projects"

Event Details

End: June 24, 2022
More Info:

Virtual Panel "Remembering the Freedom of Choice Initiative: Implementing Local Oral History Projects"
Louisa County Historical Society 

Friday, June 24
12 to 1:30 p.m. via Zoom 
Panel discussion followed by Q&A

(Zoom link will be emailed to registrants) 


In 2020, the Louisa County Historical Society (LCHS) formed a community advisory council (CAC) to address representation and lack of diversity in its archive. Piloting the African American History Program, LCHS set out to document the lives of Louisa’s underrepresented residents through oral histories. Part of this work included the Freedom of Choice Remembrance Project which brought to light the voices of those in the community involved in the 1960s civil rights movement. In particular, the project sought to capture in digital format the experiences of the 13 African American students who integrated Louisa County High School in 1965. Using multiple archival and media sources, the project constructed a comprehensive narrative of the period from federal, community, and personal viewpoints. Local and federal records obtained from the Health, Education and Welfare Department provided official documentation of the impact in Louisa County, while oral histories provided personal recollections of and the emotions experienced by the 13 students, classmates and teachers present in 1965. Beyond just documenting this event for the archival record, LCHS worked to better incorporate this little known, yet very powerful, moment into the county’s history. In partnership with the Louisa County School Board, Board of Supervisors, and Sheriff's department, LCHS installed a new roadside marker commemorating this historic event on the grounds of the high school in February 2022. Yet the marker is just a first step in remembering; LCHS is continually at work to broaden the County’s understanding of Freedom of Choice through school curriculum, exhibits, and digital media. This panel aims to detail the process of integrating the history of federal programs like the Freedom of Choice Initiative into the collective memory of a community. As directors, managers, planners, and volunteers, each panel member provides unique insight into the planning, research, and implementation of oral history projects like these. LCHS hopes that by bringing our research findings to the local community and to those engaged in studying African American History in the United States, projects like this will broaden our approach to the stories which can be told about our past.