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Apr 30, 2015

Oral History Project: Demolished African-American Neighborhood

Academics, Faculty

Brian McNeill

“I recently sat there on Orleans Street, and closed my eyes and just remembered so much of all the fun I had,” Sutton said. “It makes me sad that I’ll never be able to go back home and that my grandchildren will never
get the opportunity to know how their Me-Mom grew up. I can never show them my big old house with a big yard and the rose bushes. It’s all gone.”

Sutton, along with 31 other former residents of the predominantly African-American Fulton community, shared her story with the Historic Fulton Oral History Project, conducted in 2011 and 2012 to educate, raise awareness and gain an understanding of life in Historic Fulton, a tight-knit neighborhood that was located in the East End of Richmond.

The oral history project features interviews with teachers, activists, clergy and community leaders who tell their stories of growing up and living in the Historic Fulton community, and also provide firsthand accounts of what it was like to be affected by Richmond’s urban renewal plan that razed some 800 homes and businesses.

For the past several years, physical copies of the oral history recordings and transcripts were available at 10 institutions, libraries and churches in the Richmond area. Now, VCU Libraries has posted streaming audio and searchable transcripts online, making the project available around the world.

Read the full Across the Spectrum article.