An abridgement of a lecture by Professor Ervin L. Jordan, Jr. (University of Virginia Records Manager & Research Archivist), for the Office of African-American Affairs' 30th Anniversary Kickoff Celebration, Minor Hall Auditorium, University of Virginia, 7 November 2006
This lecture, derived from a forthcoming history of African-Americans at U.Va., is copyrighted © 2006 by Prof. Ervin L. Jordan, Jr. and reproduced here by permission. No part of this work may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without his written permission.
The Birth of OAAA
The Black Student Alliance's 1975 "Proposal For The Establishment of an Office of Minority Affairs At The University of Virginia" called for it to be operational by the summer of 1976. Although President Frank Hereford had announced the appointment of Dr. Jones as his minority affairs advisor, three hundred Black students marched to his Carr's Hill residence whereupon he promised the University would begin addressing Black concerns. The chairman of the Student Council's Minority Affairs Committee, Leroy Hassell, now chief justice of the Virginia Supreme Court, received Hereford's pledge to make Blacks welcome.
But a year later, "the Farmington Incident" erupted when students protested President Hereford's continued membership in Farmington County Club, a racially exclusive private club in Albemarle County. Although other university officials and members of the Board of Visitors resigned due to Farmington's policies against blacks as guests or members, Hereford did not announce his club resignation until shortly after Farmington's president publicly reaffirmed its racial restrictions in February 1976. (The 1967 Student Council declared segregated businesses off-limits to university student organizations; in 1968 the University prohibited the expenditure of university funds at racially discriminatory clubs. These bans were rescinded in November 1993 after Farmington enacted a new membership policy banning discrimination and extended membership to five African-Americans).