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Credit: Daily Press/TCA

How University Expansion Has Uprooted Communities of Color Across the Country

Join us for a discussion about the past and present uprooting of neighborhoods of color and the harm suffered by families in the name of educational progress.

In partnership with Virginia Center for Investigative Journalism at WHRO and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Christopher Newport College could have been built anywhere in Newport News, Virginia. But, in 1961, in the last gasp of the Jim Crow era, the City Council voted to put it in a growing Black middle-class neighborhood known as Shoe Lane. To make room for the then all-white college, the council seized the core of the neighborhood by eminent domain, driving out the homeowners and underpaying them for their land.

In September, the Virginia Center for Investigative Journalism at WHRO, through ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network, began publishing a series of articles investigating the racial impacts of the establishment and expansion of public universities across Virginia.

During this virtual event, reporters will recap the findings of the investigation and will invite expert panelists to help illuminate a long-standing aspect of the African American and Latino experience: the confiscation and destruction of their neighborhoods across the country for higher-education facilities through the use or threat of eminent domain.

Speakers include:

  • Brandi Kellam, Virginia Center for Investigative Journalism at WHRO reporter
  • Cassandra Newby-Alexander, Ph.D., Norfolk State University endowed professor of Virginia Black History and Culture and emeritus director of Joseph Jenkins Roberts Center for African Diaspora Studies
  • Daniel Golden, ProPublica senior editor and reporter
  • James Burling, Pacific Legal Foundation vice president for legal affairs
  • LaDale Winling, Virginia Tech associate professor of history
  • Louis Hansen, Virginia Center for Investigative Journalism at WHRO co-founder, senior editor and reporter
  • Nolbert D. Chavez, University of Colorado elected member of the Board of Regents & University of Colorado Denver chief of external initiatives and HSI engagement

We’re excited to offer this virtual program ahead of the premiere of our short documentary, Uprooted, which tells the nearly forgotten story of a college expansion like the ones that broke up Black communities across Virginia and the country. Watch Uprooted on Friday, December 8, 8:30 p.m. on WHRO TV 15. Set a reminder to tune in.

This event has ended.