This essay discusses our work on the digital archive, The Fight for Knowledge: Civil Rights and Education in Richmond, Virginia, which grew out of our five-year documentary theater project at the University of Richmond. We include the voices of six collaborators—students, a special collections librarian, a digital archivist, and faculty members—to closely examine the multiple archives that have grown out of this project, and the way this has led us to propose a new way of thinking both about archives and about our documentary theater methodologies. This collaborative process has helped us to reconceptualize the relationship between archive and theater and enriched our thinking about both archive creation and documentary theater practices. Our hope is to inspire critical questions about history, memory, and justice—to make sense of the lived experience of interviewees through archival materials and to make sense of archival materials in the context of personal history.

Below appear five perspectives from
The Fight for Knowledge: Civil Rights and Education in Richmond, Virginia


Special thanks to our many partners on this project, including The Bonner Center for Civic Engagement at the University of Richmond, especially Amy Howard, Sylvia Gale, John Moeser, Terry Dolson, and Cassie Price; Kim Dean at UR Downtown; the Department of Theater and Dance, especially Debbie Mullin; the Program of American Studies; Hope in the Cities, especially Tee Turner and Cricket White; One Voice, especially Adele Johnson and Glen McCune; Henderson Middle School, especially Rosemarie Wiegandt; Katherine Schmidt for guiding students from Henderson Middle School with their digital stories; Salvador Barajas and Connor Dolson for all of their great work on the digital archive; VCU Cabell Library's Special Collections, especially Ray Bonis, Wesley Chenault, and Yuki Hibben; Meghan Glass Hughes at the Valentine Richmond History Center.

We are grateful for the willingness of many Wythe alums to share their stories, especially Mark Person. Thanks to all of our interviewees: Keith T. Andes, Sandra M. Antoine, Philip H. Brunson III, Fredrick D. German, Janice M. Hassell, Ray P. Kyle, James W. La Prade, Robin Denise Mines, Valerie Perkins, Mark Person, Thomas David Riddell, Royal L. Robinson, Elizabeth B. Salim, Randolph "Randy" Shelton, Claire Spicer, Laura S. Martin Summers, Gary W. Thompson, Anneliese Warriner (Ware), June (Dobb)Wilbert, Maurice Williams, Silas "Elwood" York.

And finally to the students, including Max Baird, Christina Brodt, Camden Cantwell, Kathryn Cohen, Renee Horen, Cheleah Jackson, Jessica Kelley, Amanda Lineberry, Jenna McAuliffe, Kelsey Mickelson, Charlene Morris, Amani Morrison, Michael Rogers, Katherine Schmidt, Danielle Stokes, and Cheyenne Varner.

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