FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 11, 2007
Contact: Jennifer M. Guild, Senior Officer for Public Relations and Marketing
Tel: (804) 342-9665 | Email:
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VHS Hosts Oliver Hill Remembrance Event
Panel Discussion about Civil Rights Leader's Life Open to the Public
Richmond, VA – The Virginia Historical Society invites members of the public to attend Reflections on Oliver Hill, a panel discussion about the life and work of Civil Rights attorney Oliver W. Hill, Sr. On Sunday, October 28, 2007, from 3:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m., prominent community leaders will share their memories and experiences about the late Oliver Hill (May 1, 1907–August 5, 2007).
"In looking at the real history makers in Virginia in the 20th century, Oliver Hill ranks near, or at the top," said Charles F. Bryan, Jr., President and CEO of the Virginia Historical Society. "In the immediate period after his death, many reflected spiritually. The VHS wanted to give people whose lives were in one way or another affected by this great man a venue to reflect on his life's work historically."
Hill, a Richmond native who practiced law for almost sixty years, fought to combat racism and discrimination. He became Richmond's first African American city councilman in the twentieth century. From 1940 to 1961, Hill led the Virginia legal team of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), including work on the 1954 case that resulted in a ban on legally mandated segregated schools.
The Reflections on Oliver Hill panel includes seven speakers. First Lady of Virginia Anne Holton will speak about Hill's support of the courts and how alive and vigorous he was in the later years of his life. Esther H. Vassar, Commissioner and Chair of the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, will bring attention to the preservation of Oliver Hill's legacy, and in particular focus on the origination of the Memorial Bust Project and the Freedom Fighter Awards. Paul DiPasquale, sculptor of the Hill bust that resides at the Historical Society, will consider the role of public art in history. Dr. Oliver W. Hill, Jr., Psychology Professor at Virginia State University, will provide insight about his father on a personal level.
The Honorable Roger L. Gregory, U.S. Circuit Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit, will highlight advantages in the judicial system because of Hill. Retired school administrator Samuel D. Barham, III will recall Hill’s work in the education arena. And Governor A. Linwood Holton, Jr. will discuss his long association and friendship with Hill.
After all panelists have spoken, audience members will be given the opportunity to ask questions or prompt more discussion about Hill's legacy. Carmella Hamm, Director of the work-in-progress film "Honor Bound: The Story of Legal Warrior Oliver White Hill," will record the event for possible inclusion in her documentary about Hill's legal battles, such as equality in pay for black teachers, access to school buses, voting rights, jury selection, and employment protection.
"It is easy to remember a person from newspaper headlines," said Lauranett Lee, Curator of African American History at the VHS. "But it is important to learn about the man behind the legend. Hill brought us closer together as a Commonwealth and moved us into the 21st century as a stronger community."
Reflections on Oliver Hill is free and open to the public. The event will take place in the Society's Robins Family Forum. Reservations are not required and seating is on a first come, first served basis. Admission to the Virginia Historical Society is free on Sundays and Reflections on Oliver Hill guests are encouraged to come early to tour the exhibitions.
The Virginia Historical Society is located at 428 N. Boulevard. The Story of Virginia, An American Experience, a 10,000-square-foot exhibition with more than a thousand objects covering all of Virginia history from prehistoric
times to the present is featured in the Robins Center for Virginia History. Hours: Monday-Saturday 10am - 5pm
and Sunday 1pm - 5pm (Museum Galleries only). Admission: $5/adults, $4/seniors 55+ ($2/Tuesdays–galleries
only), $3/children and students, free/members. Admission to the galleries is free on Sundays. For group tour
information, call (804) 342-9652. For more information, please call (804) 358-4901 or visit