Linguists have long been fascinated with the phenomenon of highlighting and hiding-the fact that every narrative is in fact edited by the speaker as he or she utters it to highlight the aspects the speaker finds significant or engaging and to hide those that seem incompatible with the goal of creating a cohesive, indeed an elegant, narrative. Spoken utterances are far from the only ones that can be "read" in this way. Buildings, even college campuses, have their stories to tell, too.
If one "reads" the University of Virginia, for example, as a "text," the highlights are clearly those aspects of the place that set the tourists chattering: the magnificence of the Rotunda, the harmony of red-brick buildings clustered about the lawn. Indeed, the lawn itself-that lush carpet of green that is every suburban homeowner's fondest wish and bitterest envy-can, in certain contexts, be every bit as attention-grabbing and worthy of comment as any of the campus's other beauties. And if one looks closer, if one looks underfoot, at that beautiful expanse of grass, one can see exactly what it is that the text of the University of Virginia is hiding.
In undertaking this research project under the auspices of the Rotunda Fire Research Committee, I had lofty notions of piercing the veil that the University of Virginia has drawn, however unwittingly, over the activities of what we may well call its "shadow" campus-the small army of workers required to keep the "sunlight" campus of academics and student activities running like a well-oiled machine. While repeatedly warned how difficult my task would be, I forged bravely ahead and discovered, true to the dour predictions of my advisors, that the most readily accessible primary source materials, such as school yearbooks and newspapers, were far more interested in the doings of the university's football team than in the workers who kept that field verdant and green. Indeed, it didn't take long for it to become clear that the late twentieth century imperative toward "total history" was in no way shared by our forebears.
Thus, I had to take a leaf from Emily Dickinson's book and find the "slant" that would allow me to tell at least some of the facts about my topic. I learned rather quickly that search terms such as "work" and "workers" yielded plentiful information-that is, until I tried narrowing my search to Virginia, Charlottesville- Albemarle, and University of Virginia. Selecting for class and gender yielded pretty much the same result-a mere trickle of information.1 But with yet another shift in emphasis to slaves, Negroes, African-Americans the trickle became, if not a flood, then certainly a steady stream.
Even so, my yoke had grown only a bit easier. The fact remained that the university did not begin to collect the type of information I was interested in until 1972-and only then at the behest of a government newly interested in affirmative action goals and timetables, according George Stovall2, who heads the university's Office of Institutional Analysis. Moreover, Stovall noted, his office did not begin to publish this information tables on the race, sex, and job category of employees until the 1980s. But while this dearth of university-collected data does impose certain constraints, in no way does it make my task- or that of those who will follow in my footsteps-impossible. Through conducting oral histories and examining university budgets, personal papers in the university's archives, as well as collections of photographs, newspaper clippings, and cross-referencing with city directories and census data, it has been possible to lay the foundation for further work on this provocative topic.
Given Virginia's painful history of slavery, civil war, de jure and de facto segregation-a divisive legacy that still lingers and whose cleavages appear to be sharpening in what pundits are beginning to call "the end of the Second Reconstruction"-my initial findings came as quite a surprise. The University of Virginia, it appeared, has historically been and continues to be one of the best-i.e., most stable and secure-employment options for African-Americans in the Charlottesville- Albemarle area. In the words of one of my informants, June Mitchell, a native who left to pursue a career as a speech pathologist and returned to open the Ujamaa Mart bookstore and gallery: "It was like this when I was growing up: You went to high school, you got a job at the hospital, and -thirty years later-you retired."3
But the stability and security promised by the university exacted a price. Employment at UVA meant being locked, with few exceptions, into an unspoken yet rigid hierarchy. One's social race4, one's sex, determined the job category into which one would be hired and how high one could rise. These hierarchies were the logical extension of a world view that had petrified in Virginia centuries ago. As the university's Educational and Employment Opportunities, Obligations and Rights committee said in a 1969 report reflecting on the integration crisis of the sixties:
Consider the situation we are in: a large, almost totally white state university, symbolizing (however accurately or inaccurately) the white, upper-middle class establishment and aristocracy of the South begins to accept and even urge American Negroes to attend the University. At first, no important recognition of the need to change behavior on the part of the white townspeople, students, staff, or faculty existed. One simply naively expected the black student to accommodate.5
The expectation was perhaps not so much naive as arrogant. After all, throughout the university's and Virginia's history, African-Americans had always been the ones to make all the necessary accommodations to the status quo.
The pattern for labor at UVA-particularly for African-American labor-had hardened into a peculiarly Southern form by 1914. We see the pattern clearly in the Corks and Curls interview with Henry Martin, born at Monticello on the day Jefferson died and bell-ringer at the Rotunda for over half a century. Martin's tale begins in a fashion typical of such accounts: "I dun know why they named me Henry Martin. Ole Missus"-one assumes Martha Jefferson, the president's daughter-"got it out'n a book . . . ." 6
Philip Bruce, always encyclopedic on the early history of the university, devoted nearly two pages to Martin a lavish tribute when compared with the one or two sentences every other reference to slaves or Negroes received:
Henry Martin was sprung from a family which had always occupied the status of slaves. He was equally remarkable in appearance and in character. His complexion was that of a light mulatto somewhat freckled, with flaxon eyebrows and hair only a shade darker in tint. The features of this face,-especially the very high cheekbones,- were distinctly remindful of the Indian; but the color of the eye was grayish blue, and the shape of the head was foreign to the African. He always wore a moustache and goatee, which further differentiated him from the negro (sic) race; and the departure was accentuated still more by a bearing of unaffected dignity, and by manners at once simple and polished . . . He was never idle . . . .
In his humble way, Henry Martin was no incongruous appendage of that stately and imposing Faculty, who, during these memorable years, raised the reputation of the University of Virginia to the loftiest point it has reached as yet.7
In Bruce's formulation, what made Martin remarkable were his connection to Monticello; his appearance, "foreign to the negro" his dignity and his work habits, also apparently divergent from the "negro" pattern. Bruce goes so far as to assert that "Uncle Henry" was as much a part of the university community as any member of the faculty. And just a bit further he calls upon Professor D.M.R. Culbreth III to explain why:He knew his part in life . . . and played it well. He knew that he was neither professor nor student, nor white man. He strictly attended to his own business. I never recall the bell to ring out of time.8
These words are echoed by Martin. "Yes, sir," he told an interviewer, Professor C. Alphonso Smith, "I was bell-ringer at this university for fifty-three years and, P'fessor, I been as true to that bell as to my God."9
The interview is sprinkled with Martin's homespun philosophy and world view. "Politeness beats learnin'," he says after admitting he never learned to read and write. "Politeness ain't never sent a man to the penitentiary but I know plenty o' colored folks that went there 'cause they knowed too much."10
Asked about the students, Martin confessed a great affection for and loyalty to them.No, sir, I don't fergit the names just a few o' the late ones. And I know a heap o' the new ones 'cause they favors their father. Durin' the war I nursed hundreds of 'em right there in that Rotunda; and when I go in it now, I ain't studyin' 'bout the books I see. No, sir, I'm thinkin' on the soldiers that I seen layin' on the floor."
As for politics, Martin firmly declared he much preferred the Bible lectures of Dr. McGuffey and Mr. Minor.I never missed one of 'em . . . . I learned more from them lectures than a colored man ever gets out'a readin' and writin'. I learned that when it eases your mind to do a thing, it's right; and when it don't ease your mind, you better go slow. When Dr. McGuffey asked me why I always voted the Democratic ticket, I told him it eased my mind to do it. A crowd o' folks said to me once: "Henry, we're goin' to send a colored man to Congress,'" I said: "My dog would be recognized as good as any colored man you could send." No, sir, I knew it wouldn't ease my mind to vote for a colored man and I ain't never done it."11
Loyalty and submissiveness were the watchwords of Henry Martin's life. So perfect was his identification with the values of the white "master class" that he might have been lifted straight from the pages of a Thomas Nelson Page novel. Indeed, his words play so seamlessly upon the sensibilities and susceptibilities of its audience that one can't help but wonder if they might not be just a bit too good to be true. Martin did note, after all, that he insisted all of his 15 children learn to read and write even as he stated again and again that "book learnin'" had no relevance for colored people. We'll never know whether or how much of Martin's tale was a performance-or if Professor Smith simply edited his words to increase their audience appeal. But we do know that at least one other pattern existed for African-American labor at University of Virginia.A less dignified figure was "Uncle Peter" Briggs, born a slave in 1828, and somewhat clownish in his behavior. Uncle Peter died around 1912 after serving many years as a janitor and gardener around the university. As Topics put it, "Two generations of students remember the slight, under-sized figure with its bowed legs, the cheerful laugh and Rebel yell, and buzzard dance . . . When the students heard that he was to be given a pauper's burial, they raised the money necessary to bear all the expenses of interment."12
Virginius Dabney13 betrays the sensibilities of a later age with his somewhat shamefaced characterization of Uncle Peter as "less dignified" and "clownish." But the reaction of the students upon Briggs's death seems to indicate that they found his performances not an embarrassing reminder of the power their class wielded but an entirely proper tribute to it. Their action-paying Brigg's funeral expenses-and Dabney's recording of it ensure this rather poignant figure's place in the University of Virginia pantheon.
Briggs and Martin are remembered, when generation upon generations of others have been relegated to the dustbin of history, because they taught lessons about the university and what we call Southern paternalism without which no "Virginia gentleman's" education would have been complete. Martin, with his physical link to Monticello and to Mr. Jefferson, and Briggs, whose performances embodied a link to a mythic past of apparently limitless power and privilege, were in different ways essential to the University of Virginia's view of itself. They comforted a class that had seen its way of life smashed before its eyes; they embodied the twinned hopes that things hadn't changed so much and that they could be prevented from changing in the future. One could speculate that, if the university hadn't had such exemplars of its sufferings and its dreams, it would have had to invent them. After all, every aristocracy needs its peasants.
But while the university, in its worker relations, was looking dreamily toward the past, the city of Charlottesville appeared to have its face set resolutely toward the future. The rhetoric of boosterism14 filled the Hill's Charlottesville City Directories during the early part of the century. Consider this example, from 1919-20:A bustling community that has multifarious advantages as a locality, richly endowed by nature as an educational, residential and industrial centre. The most progressive city in the State [emphasis mine]. . . . [o]n the main line of two great trunk lines, the Southern and the Chesapeake & Ohio Railways . . . . [w]ithin three hours ride of Washington and Richmond, and eight hours of New York City. The deposits of the two National Banks, as of July 1st, 1919, were $4, 575,743.60, as compared with $1,268,975 on the same day 1910 . . . . Charlottesville . . . IS GROWING LIKE A YOUNGSTER. 15
The entry goes on to claim "the largest woolen mills in the South," three large silk mills, a chemical extract plant, three flour mills, four lumber mills, foundries, machine shops, a cold storage plant, and much more. In sharp contrast to the 1910-11 directory, which sings the praises of the University of Virginia in the opening paragraph, the university isn't even mentioned until near the end of the entry-and then receives only a sentence or two.
More objective sources, however, show that the city's growth in the teens and twenties was more fabular than factual. Statewide and locally, agriculture was to be the No. 1 industry throughout the twenties. In 1925, for example, the value of the tobacco crop and its related industries was $117,056,93716. Iron/machinery and cotton mill products, the No. 2 and 3 industries, trailed distantly at $43,537, 833 and $29,257,545, respectively. In Albemarle, tobacco was not an important crop; the pattern of agriculture was far more diversified, including wheat and corn, peaches, apples, grapes, hay, dairy products, and cattle.17 Apparently, if you'll forgive the pun, it was a fruitful diversification. The county's farm property values were third highest in the state in 1925 $28, 646, 470, nearly three times the state average of $9,994,658.
The picture in manufacturing was far less rosy. In 1919, Albemarle County ranked 21st in both the value of manufactured products and the value added by manufacture. The dollar figures were $3.8 million and $1.6 million, respectively, compared with state averages of $6.4 million and $2.7 million. Indeed, Albemarle's figures seem positively paltry compared to those racked up in nearby Henrico County, roughly equivalent in size18, which had manufactured products valued at $159.7 million and value added to manufacture of $68.6 million. Most telling, only 788 of Albemarle County's residents were employed in manufacturing. The state average was 1,193; in Henrico, the number was 22,549.
The difference between the two counties certainly lay in the importance-and profitability-of Richmond's cigar-making, printing, and wood products industries.19 But a further factor was an ambivalence on the part of Charlottesville's city fathers. "Unregulated" growth, with the concomitant specter of a loss of a cherished identity, seems to have been held in some horror. A Pennsylvania carpet company learned that to its cost in 1934 when complaints from residents derailed its plans to set up shop in the Keswick community. City fathers are reported to have uttered not a word of protest despite the loss of 1,500 jobs and a promised $1.5 million payroll in the depths of a Depression.20
As late as 1976, a history of Albemarle County was hailing it as "the lucky county" for its failure to keep pace with other Virginia cities that embraced industrialization and all its attendant evils.21 There is always the possibility that this rhetoric is simply a way of making a virtue of necessity, but my informants22 agree with the assessment though not on its causes and effects. "Charlottesville has always been very aristocratic," recalls the Rev. Threadis Jones, 71, the assistant pastor of First Baptist Church and a Charlottesville resident since 1940. "Prior to the late fifties, early sixties, they wouldn't even allow big plants to come here."23
Ronald Porter,24 a lifelong Charlottesville resident who retired last year from the position of executive housekeeper after 42 years with the university, concurs. The powers- that-be, he said, "didn't want development. They wanted to keep [the cost of] labor cheap."
There also seemed to have been a determination to shut African-Americans out of the city's economic boomlet. Gavin Wright is far from the first to have noted that blacks were systematically excluded from the textile industry.25 Charlottesville was certainly no exception. The 1919-20 Hill's City Directory reveals the Woolen Mills neighborhood as an all-white enclave in a city nearly one-third black. "[That area] was rough," Porter says with a mirthless laugh. "You didn't even go there-'less you were cleaning house for somebody." The '19-20 city directory is revealing in other ways, too.
The residential entries for whites, for example, showcase the wide diversity of employment options open to them-in addition to professors and managerial types at the upper end of the income scale, there are entries for painters, upholsterers, firemen, cattle dealers, bricklayers, shoemakers, foremen, salesmen, clerks, sheet metal workers, millhands, motormen, managers, carpenters, students, and many, many more. The entries for "colored" workers, however, show a monotonous sameness: domestic, domestic, cook, laborer, maid, waiter, porter, domestic. A handful of African-American- owned businesses are listed-all of them, like the work available to those who hired out their labor, concentrated in the service industry: laundries, barbershops, "eating houses," shoe shops, and so on.26
Indeed, Virginia in general and Charlottesville in particular were, by the twenties, in the latter stages of a remarkable period of systematic disfranchisement and deskilling aimed at the African-American population. The successful assault on voting rights in Virginia, culminating in 1902, has been described elsewhere27 and is not properly our concern here. However, the process by which African-American tradesmen and artisans were "deskilled"-deprived of their skills or not permitted to exercise them-is one that is not as widely known or systematically studied.
Here, the publications of the university's Phelps-Stokes28 fund provide invaluable assistance. In The Virginia Negro Artisan and Tradesman, Raymond B. Pinchback paints a picture completely at odds with stereotypes of African-American "shiftlessness" and more euphemistic depictions that stress the "unskilled" nature of African- American labor.29 Using extensive charts and tables, plus interviews and a wide variety of secondary sources, Pinchbeck establishes that the urban nature of much of Virginia slavery meant that the African-American work force was one of the most highly skilled in the South.
Indeed, Pinchbeck claims that blacks dominated building, agricultural, and manufacturing trades until the close of the Civil War so much so that significant outmigrations of white laborers in the period leading up to the war were blamed on the white laborers' inability to compete with the African-American labor force.30 Indeed, Pinchbeck notes that Virginia's factory workers, artisans, and tradesmen both slave and free numbered nearly 60,000 before the war.31
By the turn of the century, however, the consensus of informed opinion appeared to be that African-American labor was embattled and losing ground fast though the process and the reasons for it were matters of considerable debate. To most of the pundits of the age, the matter was a simple one. Emancipation in general African-Americans in particular were to blame. Philip Bruce, lamenting the ills of emancipation, noted that "desertion of the localities where they [African-Americans] had always dwelt meant in many instances the abandonment of trades to which they had been t
rained by . . . many years of experience."32Thomas Nelson Page was even blunter, insisting that the $5 million the state had spent on educating blacks between 1870 and 1890 had been wasted. Before the war, he noted, blacks had had a monopoly on mechanical trades and made significant inroads as dealers in tobacco and other commodities. By 1890, he claimed, few black entrepreneurs were to be found, and the great mass of African-Americans were slipping into "menial" positions as unskilled workers.33
Here the paucity of balancing African-American testimony becomes quite frustrating. Thus, we can only be thankful for Pinchbeck, whose reliance on "hard" data directly challenges the impressionistic and none-too-objective majority view. For example, it's not at all clear from the evidence that African-American labor was in fact unable to compete with white labor.
From 1890 to 1920, for example, the black population of Virginia fell from slightly more than a third of the population to around 29.1 percent34. The number of African- Americans in manufacturing and mechanical trades, however, grew 183 percent from 22,378 to 63,325.35 Despite its considerable edge in population, however, white employment in those sectors grew more slowly over those decades, at a rate of 145% from 54,236 to 132,817.
It is true that African-American laborers saw dramatic losses in trade sectors that had traditionally been their domain. But the most dramatic losses by far, according to Pinchbeck, were in agricultural labor and domestic service.36 As for the trades in which blacks lost ground, Pinchbeck argues persuasively that many of these losses were offset by gains in other trades. 37 Indeed, Pinchbeck argues throughout his study that African- Americans across Virginia were competing aggressively and oftentimes quite successfully with whites. While he concludes both that African-Americans occupied a lower stratum of the labor force than whites and that there was an overall erosion in the African-American's position over the period of the study, his analysis is largely optimistic and his suggestions for a cure are radical for their times:It is of the greatest importance that Virginia realize that the progress of the whole State must be seriously handicapped so long as practically one-third of the population remains in the ranks of the unskilled.38
Compare his tone to this example, from the introductory chapter of another of the Phelps-Stokes papers:Aside from mental capacity, these [Negro's racial] traits may, for the purposes of analysis, be divided into four principal classes. First is the lack of purpose. . . . Indeed, it is this very lack of resolve that has, so far back as history goes, made the negro (sic) an ideal slave. Again we find carelessness, which includes indifference and lack of attention, which makes him accept a mean lot with no ambition to rise above it. A third characteristic which has materially retarded the progress of the negro since his emancipation, and which was indeed a certain handicap to him during slavery, is improvidence. There was nothing in either the environment of Africa or that of slavery to develop thrift and economy and that they are lacking is to be expected, but the fact remains that they are qualities necessary for modern economic efficiency . . . . Wastefulness and destructiveness are the final class of these traits which are organically present in the negro . . . . unless by careful training he has overcome them.39
Nowhere, in this careful formulation, does the author consider any cause of "the Negro problem" other than Negroes themselves. Fortunately, for the purposes of historical analysis, other commentators were willing to look a bit deeper:Several leading industries established here in recent years, such as cotton mills, together employing 1,000 or so hands, employ only white labor. Negro waiters in one of the large schools were recently replaced by white waitresses brought here from a long distance, and occasionally the Negro domestic has been displaced for the white house girl. Such facts may have something to do with the emigration of Negroes40. At any rate, they have been going to the mines, and public works and larger cities of the Union.41
Here, where African-American workers were found to be competing too successfully with whites, ways were found to eliminate their perceived edge42. But this was, by far, the minority view of the matter. In general, analysis of the African-American's economic woes highlighted the former slave's inherent incapacity for economic competition while hiding the white South's stake in ensuring that that prophecy became a self-fulfilling one.
In Charlottesville, a town without the broad industrial base to attract and sustain either population or economic growth on a consistent basis, we can see that the pressures and tensions arising from need to protect white men from economic competition would be particularly intense. The University of Virginia, as the town's single growth industry, was particularly well placed to mitigate those pressures. This was a role, however, that the university was destined not to play.
The story of African-Americans at UVA is inextricably intertwined with that of labor. Bruce, in his chapter on the building of the university, notes:In the course of the building, the University had use for the labor of many hired slaves. In 1821, the number employed there in different ways was thirty-two, some of whom were still under age. The terms for which they served did not run over one year, although, doubtless, the contracts with their owners were most often renewed at expiration. The overseer in charge was James Herron, who was responsible for the safe keeping of the necessary supplies for the men and horses, and also for all the carts and tools. There seems to have been a large garden full of vegetables under cultivation for the benefit of the laborers; and the overseer was required to have it properly sowed, planted, and tended in season.43
The emphasis in this account-the credit for the labor performed redounding not to the hands that performed the it but instead to the overseer who was "required to have it" done-is perhaps curious to modern eyes but not uncommon or even surprising for the times. Even in housewives' diaries and receipt books, whose pages seem to groan with the weight of the slave mistress's labors, "the ability to command the bodies and labor of others"44 appears to stand by a process of metonymy for the performance of the labor itself.
Bruce notes a considerable wage differential between slave and white labor. We should remember that slave owners charged on the basis of the age and physical condition of their laborers, while white laborers' wages were likely to be influenced by the skill level of the work they provided. Even so, $60 per year was the average slave contract, while white laborers made between $10 and $16 per month.45 Both sets of laborers were provided room and board or supplies of food by the university.
As the university matured, this "overseer-field hand" relationship to labor was relegated to a single department, what we have come to know as the Buildings and Grounds (and later the Facilities Management) department. The relationship to labor that gradually comes to the fore in accounts by Bruce and others is one that's far more in keeping with the university's self-image: an aristocratic ideal of personal service46 that permeated the university's relations to African-Americans and came to more or less completely circumscribe their roles.
Photos from the period are clear on the point.47 Whites are pictured in suits and ties, beaming in front of the rebuilt Rotunda; lecturing before students; or gaily costumed for the pageants that accompanied the university's centennial celebration. Their sense of ease and belonging is palpable. Images of African-Americans, on the other hand, stress subordinate status servitude, if you will.48 But for minor details of costuming, the pictures of a driver with a mule-driven cart, men with doffed caps, and women with downcast eyes and starched white aprons-recall a much earlier era.
Photographs of African-Americans are few and far between. One finds in Corks and Curls the occasional porter posing with an athletic team. More common were student caricatures featuring rolling-eyed, bubble-lipped blacks waiting at table or in other subservient postures. Indeed, it wouldn't be unfair to say that African-Americans were only visible within such conventions. Consider this example:Does any old man not remember what pleasure it gave him, when he got back to College for the opening of his second year, to show all the new arrivals by his whole bearing how perfectly at home and in his proper element he was. You remember how carelessly and jauntily you singled out your old servant from the crowd and told him to be pretty quick about getting those trunks . . . . at the same time wishing there were some new man around to see and hear you. 49
Indeed, this student account clarifies matters handily. A sense of "belonging" to the university of community came only with the ability to command the lives and labors of others. African-Americans were certainly not the only ones on the receiving end. The "Town-and-Gown" divide in Charlottesville, for example, was more like a chasm, with townspeople most definitively consigned to second- place status.50 But the combination of economic and social pressures certainly left African- Americans at a much greater disadvantage.
"Town and Gown" pressures appear to have eased over time, but the black community's sense of disadvantage remains sharp to this day. "We built this university" is a refrain one hears again and again even in casual conversation. And mingled in the assertion is a both a sense of ownership and pride as well as a clearly evident bitterness over how little that really appears to count in long-established town and university hierarchies.
have seen how patterns of custom and hardening institutional racism acted to limit the aspirations of African-Americans in Virginia and throughout the South at the dawn of the twentieth century. In Charlottesville, a town largely bypassed by the engines of industrialization, the chances that an African-American associated with the university was a professor's or student's personal servant were high indeed. Relatively few African- Americans appear to have been employed by the directly by the university. The 1910-11, for example, lists 128 employees-just eight of that number were grounds laborers and only fourteen were janitors.51 It cannot be ascertained with any certainty how many of this number were African-American since, in contrast to other employees, neither laborers and janitors are listed by name. But given the relegation of blacks to the lowest end of the skill and status scale, and the fact that only one named52 employee the fireman, William Malone appears to have been "colored"53, it's probably safe to assume that many of the unnamed employees were African-American.
Janitorial pay was low in 1910, but so was the cost of living.54 In 1910-11, the lowest paid janitors made $162, about $3.11 per week (assuming that they worked year-round), while those assigned to Alumni Hall made $135 and $180, and the fireman and "general" janitor (the chief janitor?) earned $210 and $216. Interestingly, the differential between the lowest and highest paid B&G employees was not that high. Janitors made 22 cents for every dollar earned by the superintendent, W.A. Lambeth, whose salary was $750. By contrast, Lambeth made only 9 cents for every dollar earned by the president, E.A. Alderman, with his $8,000 salary. Professors, with salaries between $3,000 and $3,300 (except in the education and biblical history departments, where pay was around $2,500), were clearly of a much higher status.
The university was not yet a major force in the Albemarle-Charlottesville economy. One hundred-odd employees was not comparable to the 788 in the manufacturing sector in 1919 or the thousands still engaged in agriculture. Moreover, the university's major building projects often had less of an impact than one would have expected. When Alderman's house was being planned in 1909, for example, most of the contracts for architectural plans and furnishings were let to firms in locations from Alvin, Texas, to Boston.55 This, however, was shortly to change.
Among the forces dictating this shift were Alderman's vision for expanding the university, the inadequacy of UVA's library facilities, and FDR's New Deal for a nation wallowing in the depths of the Great Depression. Southern states were notoriously anti- Roosevelt and hostile to New Deal programs.Despite their political power, and despite the impoverished conditions of the region, the South received less federal spending under the New Deal programs than any other part of the country.56
Even so, both Charlottesville and the university became the beneficiaries of considerable federal largess in the construction of the E.A. Alderman Library.57
Much is compelling in the story of the wheeling and dealing that characterized the politics of the new library's construction. But what is most relevant for our purposes is that the university was given here an opportunity to stand above the sectional politics of race that circumscribed Southern labor relations and failed to do so.
In 1936, when the library project secured federal funding, government agencies, ardently pursuing the stated goals of the National Recovery Act, were idealistic in their insistence that African-American workers be assured the same pay as their white counterparts.58 In practice, however, this often assured that black workers were locked into even lower skill categories by white employers who flatly refused to grant them either status or opportunity equivalent to that enjoyed by whites.59The school and the state employment service cooperated in ignoring [Public Works Administration] anti-discrimination policy. For example, using a standard [Works Progress Administration] . . . Requisition for Workers form, Frank Hartman, U.Va.'s Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds, asked the [Virginia State Employment Service] to provide . . . one civil engineer and two laborers. In the column for special request information Hartman requested "white" laborers, (sic) no such distinction was explicitly necessary for the engineer . . . . The non-discrimination clause in every contract amounted to little more than ink since the University and the state conspired to ignore it.60
Indeed, payroll records indicate that at least 20 of the 125 weekly workers employed in the construction did not come from relief rolls in clear violation of PWA rules. African- American workers were apparently relegated to the ranks of day workers who performed the most menial jobs at the lowest wages.61 The writer was probably understating the case when he concludes, "The PWA did not threaten the status quo in Charlottesville."62
One of the strategies by which university and city leaders coped with this reality was simply to deny it. The oral histories in From Porch Swings to Patios, for example, are united in the degree to which they agree that integration has made a "difference" in Charlottesville, but they tend to leave out contextualizing details63 or to paint an idyllic picture of Town-and-Gown life that is sharply at odds with that offered by the African-American accounts of the period.
For example, Hammond's history of Albemarle County gave this account of social segregation in Charlottesville: "Vaudeville and movie houses always reserved seats at reduced prices for blacks"64 a masterly bit of minimization if there ever was one. And while the author does admit egregious wrongs such as the town's long delay in setting up a high school for African-Americans along with the desire of the city's black community for change, the pictures that linger are those of tolerance and peaceful accommodation:On July 23, 1923, at the very moment that the Ku Klux Klan was becoming more active, the John Boaz family of Covesville held a lavish party for their veteran cook Judy Piper, who had been with them for thirty years. Supper for Judy and her guests was prepared by Mrs. Boaz [emphasis mine] and her children, and music for dancing was provided by a black orchestra.65
"While a turnabout of this sort was rare indeed," Hammond concludes, "such things could happen." In other words, the KKK may have been burning crosses, setting off bombs at Negro homes in Mechum's Creek, and meeting at the Albemarle County Courthouse66, yet race relations could be depicted without undue violence to white perceptions as peaceful and harmonious. This was denial of a sort that Charlottesville's black community could ill afford.
"There was quite a bit of prejudice," as Thelma Terrell Hagen recalls. Mrs. Hagen, 70, retired in 1987 after 23 years as a hospital dietitian.67 Four generations of Mrs. Hagen's family have been associated with the university. Her mother's father, the Rev. William Barbour, was a bell ringer. Her father, Thomas Terrell, earned considerable respect as the hospital chef his picture, she says, hangs in the main cafeteria. She worked at the hospital as a girl of 15 and returned, after many years spent up North, to become a dietitian and eventually a dietetic supervisor. Her daughter, too, works at the hospital.
Mrs. Hagen tended to be reserved, even guarded, in her comments about the university, preferring spin tales-of her mother's birth on Carr's Hill, "in a house on the Jefferson style" of her grandfather's duties, rising at 4:30 a.m. to light hearth fires on Dawson's Row; of her own girlhood days, mixing milkshakes for the wealthy patients in the hospital's Barringer Wing who'd invite their friends over for poker and bridge or to share the fine liquors they kept in their private refrigerators. When friend were in short supply, she notes with a chuckle, the ladies would call their maids over for quiet nightcap.
But between the amusing tales, other pictures emerged: of the segregated ward for black hospital patients, located in the basement with bare pipes hanging overhead; of management's ploys to keep the workers at each other's throats; of the resentment and defiance she endured from both sides of the color line when she was promoted to supervisor; of her periodic calls to the NAACP when things got particularly tense.
Mrs. Hagen clearly felt herself to have been among the lucky ones. But when asked if she and her family felt themselves to be a part of the university community, the question caused her to wrinkle her brow. "No," she said after a pause. "I've never felt that."
Ronald Porter, 63, is another of those who could be considered one of the lucky ones. His father, Philip Porter, worked "50-something" years for Chi Phi fraternity and was so devoted to his charges that he even bought them food and fuel in the post- WWII years when a less affluent group of students entered school on the GI Bill and overextended their credit at the local stores. Ronald Porter worked his way up from a 65- cent-an-hour custodian's post to executive housekeeper. And when he retired last year, after 42 years, he received a lavish send-off from the university, including a standing-room- only retirement party and a write-up in the Facilities Management newsletter.68
But Porter appears to look back on his years at the university with bitterness. "If I could have been anything I wanted, I would've went into accounting," he says. "I wanted to do anything in the world except sweep floors all my life."
Porter notes that "it took me years to move up into executive housekeeping." During those years, he trained many younger white men and watched them promoted rapidly above him and up the departmental ladder. "Oh, I improved myself. I went to business school, I took courses, I did everything they said I needed to do . . . . It didn't do any good," he says. Porter recalls with particular bitterness the fact that he ran the department for seven years while higher-ups were searching for the "right" candidate for the superintendent's position. "I had 325 employees under me for seven years. I didn't get the pay, and they still gave it to a white man."
Porter adds, "I wouldn't recommend any black person to come work for the University of Virginia." It disturbs him that his son, Ronald Jr., age 32, ignored his advice to go on to college and took a job in Facilities Management. "I still try to get him to leave. He's always going to be a custodian here, no matter how hard he works."
Porter puts little stock in the university's claims that workers are a part of the "UVA family." "They tell you that all the time, but they don't do anything to make you feel that it's true," he says.
He concludes on a decidedly downbeat note. "Things may change," he says. "But I won't be around to see it."
The question one is left with is: Why did Porter, and so many others like him, stay? Porter got other offers-to become the city's first black policeman, to become one of the first black Trailways bus drivers, to train in hotel management. But for various reasons-the danger of the police job, his age at the time of the Trailways offer, his unwillingness to pack up his family and move as he would have been required to with the hotel position-he turned them all down and remained with the university.
The average Charlottesville black, "hemmed in" by the growth of white business and residential sectors and "shut out" of fruits of its economic growth,69 had far more limited options than someone as highly visible and widely respected as Porter. The private sector would have paid better than university work-even in domestic service, Porter says. But most new private sector jobs were reserved for whites70, and in domestic service matters of benefits, vacation, and overtime were completely at the whim of the employer.
Meanwhile, beginning with the Alderman Library and continuing through such projects as the hospital, the heating plant construction, the refurbishing of the Lawn, and many, many others, the university had embarked on a period of aggressive expansion. For all its shortcomings, UVA was more than a safe bet-it was, in many instances, the only viable option for African-Americans. Friends or relatives could be depended on to put in a good word where it counted. Pay may have been low, but it was stable, and there were rules governing sick time and vacations. The school's steady expansive growth spelled freedom from the fear of sudden, massive layoffs. And best of all, after hanging on for twenty, thirty, forty years, one could retire in the city one called home with a comfortable nest egg.
Of course, for many the promise of security would not have been enough of an inducement to stay in a city or work for a university where every aspiration was sure to be thwarted. Accordingly, the Charlottesville-Albemarle's black population peaked in 1880, when it was 16,65971 or 51 percent of the city-county's total 32,618 residents and has fallen every year since. By 1920, African-Americans had fallen to 29.1 percent of the county's 18,436 and 27.6 percent of the city's 7,741 residents.72 By 1980, just 18 percent of the city's 40, 141 residents and 11 percent of the county's 56,064 residents claimed black ancestry.73
Meanwhile, the university has become the powerhouse of the Charlottesville economy. From 1979-80, for example, UVA accounted directly and indirectly for $307 million of Charlottesville-Albemarle's business volume.74 The university with 22,882 full- and part- time workers, or 43 percent of the local work force-was by far the largest employer in the area.75 Given its intimate connection with the Charlottesville economy, what has been good for the university has tended to be good for the city as well. The ranks of the employed expanded in the Charlottesville metropolitan statistical area at a rate of 2.8 percent from 1980-90 exceeded only by the Norfolk-Virginia Beach-Newport News area, with a 3.1 percent growth rate, and the Northern Virginia MSA, which grew at a 5.7 percent clip.76 Salaries have grown briskly as well, up 5.7 percent from an average wage of 11,243 in 1980 to 20,055 in 1990.77
But as the saying goes, the more things change, the more they remain the same. In 1983, the first year the university's annual Data Digest published tables on the salaried work force by race and sex, UVA's racial hierarchies were shown to be firmly in place. Of 411 executive/administrative/ managerial employees, only 25, or 6.0 percent, were black, along with 2.1 percent (31 of 1,462) faculty, 3.5 percent (65 of 1,858) professionals, 14 percent (251 of 1,776) clerks and secretaries, and 20 percent (157 of 774) technical/para- professionals. Only 18 percent (92 of 488) of skilled craft workers were African- American. The only sector in which African-Americans outnumbered whites was in the service and maintenance sector, where more than more than 55 percent of the workers (603 of 1081) were black.78
Porter was not completely correct: The figures from the eighties show marked improvement over those collected in 1978,79 which no doubt would have been light years removed from those collected a decade earlier. But Stovall, who has studied the figures over a period of years, said changes in the status of African-Americans were coming so gradually as to be almost imperceptible.
The fact remains that neither the university nor its black work force has shaken off the chains of the past. Relations between workers and university continue to be governed by a paradigm that makes privileged "house Negroes" out of black administrators and executives and "field hands" out of unskilled cafeteria and grounds laborers. The forces that earlier in this century deprived a vigorous and competitive population of both skills and the hope of aspiration are still in play. In addition, the invisibility of labor in the official record and the unspoken nature of much of what occurs beyond the sightlines of those with the power to make changes assures that the paradigm goes unchallenged.
African-Americans are still, by and large, hanging on for a pension-or moving on to other opportunities as quickly as they can. Few and far between are those who feel they can call the university home. Indeed, the university is referred to most commonly as casually as a house-though not just any house. As one of my informants, a custodian who was willing to talk informally but who did not wish to be quoted by name said, "Girlfriend, this ain't nothing but a big ole plantation-and everybody's tryin' to get in the Big House."
As long as labor remains invisible at the University of Virginia, the metaphor will unfortunately remain an apt one.
Adero, Malaika, ed. Up South: Stories, Studies, and Letters of This Century's African-American Migrations. New York: The New Press, 1993. This provides interesting and useful background on the decline through outmigration of Charlottesville's African-American population. It's useful particularly for providing early twentieth century sources that are often quite at odds with the "official story" of white pundits on the African-American condition.
An Audacious Faith: Report of the Task Force on African American Affairs. June 1987. Candid discussions of the university's traditional exclusion of African- American students and faculty. While students and faculty are main focus, however, the plight of lower-level employees is not ignored. Study includes race and gender breakdown for UVA employees by salary and wage classification.
Annual Reports of the Archivist I-X. University of Virginia Library, 1930-40. Charlottesville: University of Virginia, 1940. A collection of archival material scattered all over campus after the Rotunda fire, then gathered together and given to the Library in 1938 when it opened. Listings are difficult to find, but areas of interest include: annual reports 1905+, boarding houses, proctor's ledger 1859-1905, bursar's cash, general ledger, ledger of renovations, superintendent's diary.
Archive Record Groups, University of Virginia. Record group 1: President's Papers, including letters to and from private contractors, financial budgets, information on boarding houses, entries on buildings and grounds.
Bruce, Philip. The History of the University of Virginia, 1819-1919: The Lengthened Shadow of One Man. Vols. I-V. New York: Macmillan, 1921. Search terms that I found helpful included: slaves, Negroes, Charlottesville, hotels, hotelkeepers, janitors, Vinegar Hill, etc. There was a long entry on "Uncle" Henry Martin, plus a description of Reconstruction-era racial clashes between armed students and residents and business owners on Vinegar Hill.
Budgets, University of Virginia. The years that interested me were 1910-11, '20- 21, '40-41, '50-51, '60-61, but bound budgets are available from the 'teens through the present. Decades prior to the seventies are particularly useful, as they list persons employed in given job categories by name and salary.
Chamberlayne, Lewis Parker. "What the Catalogue Can Not Tell: A Sketch of the Place and the People" in Corks and Curls, 1899. It's short enough to quote in its entirety: "Does any old man not remember what pleasure it gave him, when he got back to College for the opening of his second year, to show all the new arrivals by his whole bearing how perfectly at home and in his proper element he was. You remember how carelessly and jauntily you singled out your old servant from the crowd and told him to be pretty quick about getting those trunks .... at the same time wishing there were some new man around to see and hear you."
Charlottesville-Albemarle Tribune. Charlottesville's African-American newspaper since 1954, available at the Jefferson-Madison Public Library, and Alderman Library.
Charlottesville Daily Progress. Mainstream daily newspaper since 1892, available at Alderman Library as well as the public library.
Dabney, Virginius. Mr. Jefferson's University. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1981. Anecdotes about "Uncle Henry" Martin, bell ringer born at Monticello, and "Uncle Peter" Briggs (d. 1914), whom students raised money to bury.
Data Digest. Charlottesville: UVA Office of Institutional Planning and Studies. Publication began on this series in approximately 1978 , as a continuation of the Statistical Abstracts and continues through the present. In the 1980s, scope of statistical analysis broadened to include race and gender breakdowns of work force by wage/salary classification.
Department of Community Development, Charlottesville, VA. From Porch Swings to Patios: An Oral History Project of Charlottesville Neighborhoods, 1914 to 1984. Charlottesville: City of Charlottesville, 1990. Good, though anecdotal, information on neighborhood composition in Charlottesville, but a clear class and race bias in selection of informants. Of 40 informants only four were African-American. Even more striking, of five informants who lived in two blue collar neighborhoods, only one was a blue collar worker. Very little information on UVA. Clayton Coleman mentions the Preston boarding house run by Charity (Mrs. William) Pitts on Grady Avenue (14); Martha Walker Duke mentions Charlottesville Woolen Mills, Michie Publishing, and the "wonderful civic groups" improving the "mud floor" houses on Gospel Hill (19); Ora Maupin's recollections of Belmont are very detailed, but she never mentions UVA as a major employer; Lucy Wheeler discusses employment for blue collar whites and integration; Roy Baltimore talks about the influence of unions; J.R. Ponton talks about integration battles; George Ferguson mentions segregated wards at UVA hospital; Thomas Ferguson Inge describes the African-American service sector---contractors, undertakers, doctors, grocers, etc.; Rebecca McGuinness, more on service sector plus racial prejudice; Charles E. Moran, town and gown issues plus racial justice; Mrs. Hunter Norris describes university area as a neighborhood of "carpenters and contractors."
Drewry Jr., Aubrey Lyman. Recent Changes in the Economic Position of the Negro in Virginia. Master's thesis: University of Virginia, 1956.
Fox-Genovese, Elizabeth. Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women of the Old South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1988.
Gee, Wilson, and John Corson 3rd. A Statistical Study of Virginia. Charlottesville: Institute for Research in the Social Sciences at UVA, 1927. This little book is the mother lode of statistical information on Virginia pre-1930s. There is nothing comparable for the period. It includes information on population, health, manufacturing, agriculture, education, with racial (and occasionally age and gender) breakdowns, comparing Virginia with other states as well as Virginia counties and cities with each other.
Grey, Amy E., M. Drake Patten, and Mark S. Warner. "A Preliminary Archaeological Assessment of the Venable Lane Site." Charlottesville: University of Virginia Department of Anthropology, 1993. A preliminary report proposing topics for further research at the Venable Lane site inhabited by Catherine Foster, a free woman of color.
Hall, Jacqueline Dowd, James Leloudis, Robert Korstad, Mary Murphy, Lu Ann Jones, and Christopher B. Daly. Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1987. Pertinent to understanding the Woolen Mills community of Charlottesville, the mill being one of the largest employers in the area other than the university for quite a period of years.
Hill's Charlottesville City Directory. Richmond: Hill's Directory Company. An extensive collection is held by the Albemarle County Historical Society. I concentrated my efforts around the years 1895, 1910-11, 1919-20, 1938, 1950. One can trace the concerns of Charlottesville's chamber of commerce over time-from agricultural to heavy industrial to light industrial/service. Also makes clear the abundance of opportunity for enterprising whites and the complete scarcity of opportunities for blacks.
Manuscript Collections, Special Collections, Alderman Library:Albemarle County Voting Registers. Poll books with registered voters, white and colored, from 1893-1902. American Civil Liberties of Virginia. 15,000 items from 1965-75, turbulent years in Charlottesville, dominated by battles for school integration and fair housing. Sarah Patton Boyle papers. Compilation of the papers of the faculty wife, author, and tireless worker for school integration and civil rights. Margaret A. Jeffries papers. Folklore and oral histories compiled for WPA 1936-40, in Culpeper area. F. Parish papers. "Conditions Among the Negroes," 1918. Lorin A. Thompson papers. "Selected demographic characteristics of Albemarle County, 1790-1960." Particularly interested in the growth of the white population vis- a-vis the shrinkage in the black, speculates that it had to do with lack of opportunity for black, but did not specifically link to out-migration patterns. Charles Louis Wright papers, "Statistics on the Colored Populations of Philadelphia, Charlottesville, Lynchburg, and Richmond," 1926---a housing survey, in pencil, on inventory paper.
Martin, Julia H., James M. Heilman, Denise W. Foster, and Donna Tolson. Virginia Occupational Demand, Supply, and Wage Information. 6th ed. Charlottesville: Tayloe Murphy Institute, Darden School, University of Virginia, 1986. Annual editions available through 1986. Projections of demand for a broad range of occupations based on interviews with employers and training program completion statistics. Fairly complete information on the service industry in present-day Virginia, but not very useful for my purposes.
Martin, Julia H., and Michael A. Spar. "Growth in Virginia: 1970-80." Charlottesville: Tayloe Murphy Institute, 1981.
Martin, Julia H., and Michael A. Spar. "Intercensal Estimates and Decennial Census Counts for Virginia Localities, 1790-1980." Charlottesville: Tayloe Murphy Institute, 1983.May, Eleanor G. "Historical Statistics from the Census of Business: Virginia and Selected States, Census Years, 1929-72." Charlottesville: Tayloe Murphy Institute, 1977.
May, Eleanor G., and Margo E. Hauck. Impact of the University of Virginia on Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Charlottesville: Tayloe Murphy Institute, Darden School of Business Administration, University of Virginia, 1981. Tables, charts, and student and resident surveys calculating the university's impact on the area's economy.
McKinney, Richard I. Keeping the Faith: A History of the First Baptist Church, 1863-1980, in Light of its Times. Charlottesville: First Baptist Church, 1981.
McQueen, John A., and John L. Knapp. Virginia Employment and Wages, 1981- 1990: A Review of 1981-90 Wage and Salary Employment Data and 1990 Average Wage Data for Virginia's Localities and Principle Industries. Charlottesville: Center for Public Service, University of Virginia, 1992. Excellent tables on average wages (national, regional, state, county, city, etc., breakdowns) and on average employment. Nothing specific to UVA, however.
The Negro in Virginia, Compiled by the Writers Program of the Works Progress Administration in the State of Virginia. New York: Hastings House, 1940. Written by the only all-black WPA Writers Program unit, this book includes information on Henry Martin, Jefferson's manservant and first bell ringer at UVA (father of the man described by Bruce and memorialized in Corks and Curls) and gives the historical background of the Phelps-Stokes bequest, and a great deal more of historical interest.
Oral Histories (Proposed):Allen, Howard (prof./retired?) 973-7556
Banks, Charles (hospital) 293-6351
Barbour, Charles (hospital, first black mayor)
Bell, Raymond (J.F. Bell Funeral Homes) 295-9169
Brown, Drewry (worked many years for fraternity)
Bunn, Mrs. B.F. (health department worker, active in community) 978-3863
Eastep, Ruth (retired English secretary)
Edwards, Rev. Alvin (Mt. Zion Baptist. Ch., good source for more names) 971-8616 (h) 293-3212 (o)
Ferguson, George R. (activist, businessman) 702 Ridge St.) 293-5238 (h) 293-5540 (o)
Hagen, Mrs. Thelma (hospital, 820 Anderson St.) 977-5631
Harris, Clint (worked for the Astors) 293-9957
Harris, Fred (hospital) 295-4905
Hobbs, Ann (retired secretary)
Inge Jr., Thomas (one of Charlottesville "400", Inge's Grocery Store family, retired after 30-odd years, lives on Rutledge Ave. in Rose Hill)
Johnson, Rev. R. A. (brother was coroner's asst., not allowed to autopsy whites) 293- 4645
Jones, Rev. Threadis 2403 Peyton #201 973-2147
Jordan, Ervin (authority on black Charlottesville, asst. prof., asst. curator, Alderman Library)
Kean, George "Buddy" (baker at hospital) 509 13th St. NW 293-5331,br> Lockett, Mrs. Ethel (314 10th St. NW) 975-8565
Lugo, Mrs. Alicia (community activist) 295-8336 (o) 295-7077 (h)
McGuinness, Dr. Rebecca (educator, 102 yrs old, 507 Brown St.)
Mitchell, June (Ujamaa Mart bookstore and gallery, good source)
Palmer, Cornelius (2413 Commonwealth) 973-8169
Parrott, Laverne (retired secretary, admissions)
Porter, Ronald (42 years, executive housekeeper)
Porter Jr., Ronald (works as custodian)
Price, Via. (Mt. Zion Baptist Ch. secretary, good source for names), 293-3212
Scott, Maxine (902 Forest St.) 977-1734
Scott, Nathan (prof. emeritus, religious studies) 977-3630
O'Neal, William B. Pictorial History of the University of Virginia. 2nd ed. Charlottesville, VA: University Press of Virginia, 1976. Pictures of work gangs restoring gardens on West Range ca. 1950. Shows that work gangs were segregated (are they still?)
Palmer, Phyllis. Domesticity and Dirt: Housewives and Domestic Servants in the United States, 1920-1945. Philadelphia: Temple UP, 1989. Excellent analysis of mistress-servant relations, i.e., the way gender, race, and class constructs permit elite women to exploit the labor of socially and politically powerless "others." An especially good discussion of the way "whiteness" constructs itself.
Perdue Folklore Archives, Brooks Hall, University of Virginia.73-16: "Field study of Selected Black Narratives." The interviewers took the rather disturbing method of giving win to hobos in order to extract stories from them, so much of what they obtained was unreliable to say the least. The best of the lot is an interview with Thomas Inge, proprietor of Inge's Grocery Store. 73-45: Interview with Bill Hearns, Chi Psi handyman. The interviewer was unfortunately much more interested in Chi Psi lore than Hearns' life. 73:104: Interview with Christine, cook for ****. The interviewer collected a good many details of her life, but never bothered to find out her last name or the name of her husband, who was also employed at the university.
Photographs, Special Collections, Alderman Library (by folder name):University--Virginia--Rotunda, Rebuilding steps and promenade (out of perhaps 20 photos, only two show workers and only one shows them clearly) Cart Driver---1901 Central heating tunnels---1950 Gardens, bricks for rebuilding serpentine walls (2 black workers)---no date, but ca. 1948- 52 UVA Garrett Hall (white workers operating machinery)--not dated Gilmer Hall construction---1962 Lawn tree replacement---1949 Library construction (five folders)---1937 Medical school construction (48 photos, some with workers) Negro servants (8 or 9 photos, incl. cart drivers)
Publications of the University of Virginia Phelps-Stokes Fellowship Papers:
No. 1: Lectures and Addresses on the Negro in the South, 1915. Multiple authors, including Ulrich Phillips. I found it useful only insofar as it provides insights into the thinking of Southern elites on the "white man's burden."
No. 2: Bitting, Samuel T. Rural Land Ownership Among the Negroes, With Special Reference to Albemarle County, 1915. This is a handy statistical guide that provides insights into both the aspirations of African-Americans in Virginia in the early part of the century as well as the obstacles they faced. Unfortunately, the author's virulent racial biases can make this upsetting reading.
No. 3: Tipton, Ray Snavely. The Taxation of Negroes in Virginia, 1916. One of the less interesting papers, it traces taxation policies affecting African-American Virginians from the slave era to present.
No. 4: Morton, Richard L. The Negro in Virginia Politics, 1865-1902, 1919. Reads like a Democratic Party platform speech, with footnotes. The author's thesis is the familiar Negro-as-dupe-of-evil-carpetbaggers scenario, and the paper is thus an ode to the Southern white man's triumphant effort to oust both blacks and carpetbaggers from the Virginia political scene.
No. 5: Childs, Benjamin Guy. The Negroes of Lynchburg, Virginia, 1923. No. 6: Brown, W.H. The Education and Economic Development of the Negro in Virginia, 1923. Brown manages to prove pretty conclusively that separate was anything but equal.
No. 7: Pinchbeck, Raymond B. The Virginia Negro Artisan and Tradesman, 1926. This is the most objective of the early monographs. It provides excellent tables and graphs and covers antebellum, Reconstruction, and turn-of-the-century Virginia.
No. 8: Knight, Charles Louis. Negro Housing in Certain Virginia Cities, 1927. No. 9: Irwin, Marjorie Felice. The Negro in Charlottesville: An Explanatory
Study, 1929. A relatively balanced look at housing, occupational change, "old" and "new" Negroes, etc.
No. 10: Leap, William Lester. Red Hill-Neighborhood Life and Race Relations in a Rural Section, 1933. Leap concentrates on the Red Hill section of Albemarle County and gives a human face to Bitting's charts and tables.
No. 11: Camp de Course, Helen. Charlottesville-A Study of Negro Life and Personality. Charlottesville, 1933. This covers much of the same ground as Irwin's study, but tilts toward the pathological and the sensational. The author's class and race biases are also regrettably evident.
No. 12: Lightfoot Jr., Robert Mitchell. Negro Crime in a Small Urban Community, 1934. Focuses on Charlottesville.
No. 13: Harlan, Howard H. Zion Town-A Study in Human Ecology, 1935. The author examines, not very fruitfully, how black communities develop within larger white ones. The focus here is on Richmond.
No. 14: Harlan, Howard H. John Jasper-A Case History in Leadership, 1936. A brief biography of the famous Richmond preacher.
No. 15: Chamberlain, Bernard Peyton. The Negro and Crime in Virginia, 1936.
No. 16: Schroetter, Hilda Noel. Bethune Center Nursery School-A Study of a Negro Institution in Lynchburg, Virginia, 1948.
No. 17: Armstrong, Nancy. Study of an Attempt Made in 1943 to Abolish Segregation of the Races on Common Carriers in the State of Virginia, 1950. The story of Virginius Dabney's remarkable anti-segregation editorial campaign.
No. 18: Walker, Helen Edith. The Negro in the Medical Profession, 1949. A very sympathetic study focusing on the plight of black doctors, their limited avenues for training, and discrimination in Virginia schools and hospitals.
No. 19: Lewis, Helen Matthews. The Woman Movement and the Negro Movement, 1949. A passionately argued paper equating the oppression of woman with the oppression of blacks.
No. 20: Barksdale, James Worsham. A Comparative Study of Contemporary White and Negro Standards in Health, Education, and Welfare, 1949. Good tables and graphs.
Smith, C. Alphonso. "Uncle Henry, Bellringer: A Dramatic Monologue." Corks and Curls, 1914. 149-151. Interview in which Martin describes being born at Monticello and his devotion to duty.
Virginia Federation of Labor. Directory of the State of Virginia. Richmond: Virginia Federation of Labor, 1897. The central body for all unions in the state, with officers, meeting times, and meeting places-- including Richmond, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Roanoke, Lynchburg, Danville, Petersburg, but NOT Charlottesville.
Virginia Occupational Information System. Guide to Occupations in Virginia. 8th ed. Charlottesville: Center for Public Service, University of Virginia, 1991. Great source. Truly amazing tables, like "Occupation in which workers with less than four years of college earned $600 or more a week," "Unemployment rates in Virginia," "25 occupations with the most openings" (janitors were #3), etc.
Old South, New South: Revolutions in the Southern Economy Since the Civil War. New York: Basic Books Inc., 1986. Good broad sweep on the South's economy.
1. A quick example: There are 1,877 entries under University of Virginia on the VIRGO system. Only one heading, University of Virginia--Employees, applied directly to my topic, and the two listings were actually a single text, held by separate university libraries.
2. Personal interview, George Stovall, July 18, 1995.
3. Personal interview, June Mitchell, July 1, 1995.
4. I find the term "social race" to be more exact, "race" being a social construct rather than a biogenetic reality. Where used, the terms "Negro" and "colored" reflect terminology current during the period in question. The terms "black," "African-American," "white," etc., are used partly for convenience and partly to reflect historical relationships.
5. An Audacious Faith: Report of the Task Force on Afro-American Affairs (Charlottesville: University of Virginia, 1987) 24.
6. C. Alphoso Smith,"Uncle Henry, Bellringer: A Dramatic Monologue": Corks and Curls (1914) 149-51.
7. Philip Bruce, The History of the University of Virginia, 1819-1919: The Lengthened
Shadow of One Man, IV (New York: Macmillan, 1921) 188-9.8Bruce, History IV 189.
9. Smith 149.
10. Smith 150.
11. Smith 150-1.
12. Virginius Dabney, Mr. Jefferson's University (New York: Macmillan, 1981) 48.
13. Dabney, it should be noted, waged an early and fierce editorial campaign for the integration of public transport. Nancy Armstrong, Study of an Attempt Made in 1943 to Abolish Segregation of the Races on Common Carriers in the State of Virginia: Publications of the University of Virginia Phelps-Stokes Fellowship Papers No. 17, 1950.
14. Gavin Wright in Old South, New South: Revolutions in the Southern Economy Since the Civil War (New York: Basic Books, 1986) 44-46, proposes that Broadus Mitchell, in The Rise of the Cotton Mill in the South, has been too harshly criticized for accepting at face value the spirit of boosterism that painted the rise of the cotton mill as a public-spirited, altruistic venture. Wright says this rhetoric was part of a genuine impluse in the Southern economy after the abolition of slavery-an impulse under which, in Mitchell's phrase, "the poor whites were welcomed back into the service of the South."
15. Hill's Charlottesville City Directory, 1919-20 (Richmond: Hill's Directory Company) 6.
16. Unless otherwise noted, statistics in this section are selected from Wilson Gee and John J. Corson 3rd, A Statistical Study of Virginia (Charlottesville: The Institute for Research in the Social Sciences, University of Virginia, 1927).
17. Samuel T. Bitting, Rural Land Ownership Among the Negroes of Virginia, With Special Reference to Albemarle County (Charlottesville: Publications of the University of Virginia Phelps-Stokes Fellowship Papers, No. 2, 1915) 67.
18. Albemarle County's population was 26,005, 29.1 percent of that number African- American, on the 1920 Census. Henrico's was $25,700, 31 percent African- American.
19. Gee and Corson 189.
20John Hammond Moore, Albemarle, Jefferson's County: 1727-1976 (Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia for Albemarle County Historical Society, 1976) 272.
21. Moore 473-8.
22. It should be noted that all my informants were African-Americans who were either Charlottesville natives or longtime residents and employees of the university.
23. Personal interview, Rev. Threadis Jones, June 27, 1995.
24. Personal interview, Ronald Porter, August 8, 1995.
25. Wright 68.
26. In Helen Camp de Course's 1933 Charlottesville A Study of Negro Life and Personality, an appendix lists 41 black-owned businesses on Vinegar Hill, 16 on Preston and Main at the foot of the Hill, and 27 scattered through other sections of the city. That's 84 black-owned businesses in a city whose 1920 census listed African-American populations of 3,559 in the city and 7,569 in the county.
27. Most remarkably and repellently in Richard L. Morton's The Negro in Virginia Politics, 1865-1902 (Charlottesville: Publications of the University of Virginia Phelps- Stokes Fellowship Papers No. 4, 1916).
28. The history of the fellowships throws a fascinating sidelight on the university's racial politics. According to The Negro in Virginia, a 1940 work by the only all-black unit of the WPA's Writing Program, Miss Caroline Phelps-Stokes left UVA a $9,000 bequest in 1909 to aid in the education of "Negroes, North American Indians, and deserving white students." As matters turned out, whites were the only beneficiaries of Phelps-Stokes's largess. The university set up the fellowship program in 1912. The money funded a 20-paper series of studies on "Negro life"-many focusing, especially in the early decades of the fellowships, on Negro pathology, shiftlessness, and depravity. Pinchbeck's study was remarkable for its freedom from the racial biases of the time.
29. Publications of the University of Virginia Phelps-Stokes Fellowship Papers No. 7, 1926).
30. Pinchbeck 67. Compare with the discussion of the widely divergent economic imperatives of "landlords" and "laborlords" in Wright 17-50.
31. Pinchbeck 67.
32. Philip A. Bruce, The Plantation Negro as a Freeman (1888).
33. Pinchbeck 72n.
34. Gee 120.
35. Pinchbeck 86-7.
36. Pinchbeck 87
37. Pinchbeck 111.
38. Pinchbeck 130.
39. Samuel Bitting, Rural Land Ownership Among the Negroes of Virginia, With Special Reference to Albemarle County (Charlottesville: Publications of the University of Virginia Phelps-Stokes Fellowship Papers No. 2, 1915) 24. Curiously, many of Bitting's findings about rural blacks directly contradicted the portrait of them he is careful to paint in both his introduction and conclusion.
40. It should be noted, however, that between 1880-90 and 1940-50 outmigration by whites often rivaled and, in war decades, actually exceeded that of southern blacks. Wright 201.
41. B.W. Arnold, "Concerning the Negroes of Lynchburg, Virginia": Southern Historical Publications No. 10 (1906) 20
42. Methods up to and including violence. Ida B. Wells-Barnett is among those who have written of the links between lynching and the economic status of those targeted for violence. See On Lynchings (New York: Arno Press, 1969). Across the South and Southwest, thriving majority-black towns or business sectors were burned out by rioting mobs determined to stamp out such evidences of African-American economic independence. See, for example, H. Leon Prather's We Have Taken a City: The Wilmington (N.C.) Racial Massacre and Coup of 1898 (Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 1984).
43. Bruce, History I 259.
44. Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, Within the Plantation Household: Black and White Women of the Old South (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 1988) 49.
45. Bruce, History I 284.
46. Palmer 6.
47. Alderman Library, Special Collections.
48. Indeed, the name of the folder is "Negro servants."
49. Lewis Parker Chamberlayne, "What the Catalogue Can Not Tell: A Sketch of the Place and People": Corks and Curls (1899).
50. "Town and Gown. There was an impassable line which existed between the University people and the city's business people, especially among the wives. The University people were Gown and the city's business people were referred to as Town, and the two were never to mix." Recollections of Irene Valentine, in From Porch Swings to Patios: An Oral History of Charlottesville's Neighborhoods, 1914-1984 (Charlottesville: Department of Community Development, 1990) 24.
51. Financial Budget, University of Virginia, 1910-1911, President's Papers, Alderman Library, Special Collections. It should be noted that janitors are listed twice on the budget, both under the heading "janitorial service" within individual departments and as individuals under the Buildings and Grounds department. But there are 13 line items for janitorial service, plus one janitor listed for the administration building, so 14 seems a safe assumption to make.
52. University budgets listed employees by both name and salary well into the 1960s. 53Only one William Malone appears in the 1910 Hill's Charlottesville City Directory. He has an asterisk next to his name; all "colored" city residents and businesses are so designated.
54. Ads in the Daily Progress hawked shoes for $1.50, corn whiskey for 60 cents a quart, bleached cotton fabric for 9 cents a yard (July 25, 1910), and Jersey bulls for $25 each (August 2, 1910).
55. President's Papers, 2/1/2.422/I, Box 6, President's House folder, Alderman Library, Special Collections. The Texas contract, by the way, was for gardenias. The estimated cost of construction was $17,000 plus $2,269.85 for furnishings.
56. Wright 199.
57. John Stambaugh, "On the Construction of Alderman Library: A Case Study of the Public Works Administration in the South" (Unpublished thesis: University of Virginia, 1995).
58. Stambaugh 14.
59. William Harris, The Harder They Run 106, as quoted in Stambaugh 13n.
60. Stambaugh 21.
61. Stambaugh 17.
62. Stambaugh 21.
63. Nowhere, for example, in the section on the Woolen Mills neighborhood is it mentioned that both the section and the mill were sharply segregated.
64. Moore 424.
65. Moore 424.
66. Moore 368.
67. Personal interview, June 26, 1995.
68. "Goodbye and Best Wishes": Perspectives, Vol. VII, No. 4, August-September 1994, 8.
69. James Worsham Barksdale, A Comparative Study of Contemporary White and Negro Standards in Health, Education and Welfare in Charlottesville, Virginia: Publications of the University of Virginia Phelps-Stokes Fellowship Papers No. 20, 1949, 81-2.
70. Wright 255.
71. Majorie Felice Irwin, The Negro in Charlottesville and Albemarle County (Publications of the University of Virginia Phelps-Stokes Fellowship Papers No. 9, 1929) 90.
72. Gee 119-20.
73. Michael A. Spar, Virginia Statistical Abstract (Charlottesville: Center for Public Service, University of Virginia, 1987) 492-3.
74. Eleanor G. May and Margo E. Hauck, The Impact of the University of Virginia on the Charlottesville-Albemarle County (Charlottesville: Tayloe Murphy Institute, The Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Virginia, 1981) 3.
75. May and Hauck 10.
76. John a. McQueen and John L. Knapp, Virginia Employment and Virginia Wages, 1981-1990 (Charlottesville: Center for Public Service, University of Virginia, 1992) 56.
77. McQueen and Knapp 36.
78Data Digest (Charlottesville: Office of Institutional Planning and Studies, 1983) 60. At this early juncture the university had not yet begun to publish wage as well as salaried employment figures.
79. An Audacious Faith 182.