Mason Folklore and Ethnography Archive
College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Congressman Connolly to Dedicate Northern Virginia Civil Rights Archive

by Anne Reynolds

Gerry connolly

On Monday, July 7, 2014, Congressman Gerald E. Connolly (D-VA 11th District) will help George Mason University mark the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by participating in the dedication of the Northern Virginia Civil Rights Archive: Personal Histories of Struggle and Achievement.

The event will take place at the Center for the Arts on Mason's Fairfax Campus, on the center’s Grand Tier III.

The Northern Virginia Civil Rights Archive represents the result of a year long, community-wide endeavor to gather personal testimonials from Northern Virginia residents about the Civil Rights Movement, including their struggles and successes as well as their everyday experiences from the time period.

The folklore studies program has worked closely with Congressman Connolly’s office in collecting the stories surrounding the progress of civil rights in the region. The stories were collected by Mason PhD candidate Marion Dobbins, who was able to reach a wide variety of "regular people" who worked for the cause of civil rights here in the local community. “The project chronicles an important piece of the nation’s history that resonated clearly and uniquely in the Northern Virginia area,” says Debra Shutika, director, folklore studies program. “By capturing the voices of those who lived through this era, we are able to preserve for future generations the struggle faced by many of our neighbors.”

Deborah Boehm-Davis, dean, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, adds, “We are pleased that Congressman Connolly is able to join us to dedicate the archive. Working with his office has made a difference in relating an important piece of our nation’s history, and housing the archive at Mason serves as a vital connection to the people in our local community. We are proud to be able to serve our neighbors in this way.”

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