“Transcripts of the Malcolm X Assassination Trial” — Window on a turbulent time

A Black man wearing glasses and a coat and tie, his hand on his head.

Malcolm X waiting for a press conference to begin on March 26, 1964, Wikimedia Commons

Learn about the assassination of civil rights leader Malcolm X in the new Library resource “Transcripts of the Malcolm X Assassination Trial.” At the time of his assassination, Malcolm X was seen as a controversial figure for giving voice to ideas that remain relevant to this day in light of the continued killings of unarmed Black people. He stated that it was hypocritical of whites to expect that Black people would not arm themselves for defense against racists. He told African Americans not to trust white liberals who, he argued, thought of them as “knee-grows,” and that Black people should see themselves as part of the majority of the world’s population that was brown. He was a follower of Islam but broke with the Nation of Islam and its leader, Elijah Muhammad, who espoused Black separatism. He openly criticized Elijah Muhammed and told Alex Haley, writer of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, “If I’m alive when this book comes out, it will be a miracle.”

On February 21, 1965, Malcolm X was preparing to address the Organization of Afro-American Unity in Manhattan’s Audubon Ballroom when a disturbance broke out. Malcolm and his bodyguards rushed into the crowd to restore order. Gunfire erupted, silencing a voice whose message seems more prescient with the passage of time.

The “Transcripts of the Malcolm X Assassination Trial” resource contains the full record of the New York State Supreme Court proceedings against ­­­­three men charged in the assassination. It includes forty-two fully searchable manuscripts that can be downloaded as PDFs or read as plain text on the web:

  • Full testimony of all witnesses.
  • Testimony of two witnesses who spoke in secrecy to hide their identities.
  • Preliminary motions.
  • Summations.
  • The court’s charge.
  • Verdicts and sentences.
  • A confession made years after the trial by one of the men convicted.

For anyone interested the life of the charismatic civil rights leader and in the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the “Transcripts of the Malcolm X Assassination Trial” is a valuable research tool shedding light on a unique and turbulent time in American history. It can be located in the Library’s A-Z Databases list.

Behind serpentine walls: Centering enslaved laborers at UVA

Through January, we’re publishing year-in-review highlights from FY2021. Download a full PDF of this year’s Annual Report to read more! For this final story, we encourage you to “visit” us—wherever you are—through a new virtual Walking Tour.

In spring of 2020 the Library added to the University’s store of knowledge about the enslaved African Americans who performed work vital to the functioning of UVA in the 19th century. Joining with UVA Landscape Architect Mary Hughes, Chief of Staff of the Division for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Meghan Faulkner, and Assistant Dean and History Professor Kirt von Daacke, a team from the Library conducted research, contributed text, and provided rare images from Special Collections to create a new virtual tour as part of the Walking Tours of Grounds app. The new tour, “Enslaved African Americans at the University of Virginia,” updates a print brochure published earlier by the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University.

Portrait of a black woman in 19th century dress, seated, hands folded in her lap.

Sally Cottrell Cole

The app is part of President Jim Ryan’s initiative to add context to the story of UVA’s past by emphasizing the contributions to University life made by enslaved people. According to team leader Elyse Girard, Executive Director of Library Communications and User Experience, “Access was really at the heart of the creation of this digital tour.” Anyone with internet may download the app for a view into the world of the enslaved laborers and artisans who excavated the terraced contours of the Lawn in 1817 and literally built the University, laying many thousands of bricks made of clay which they dug from the earth and then molded and fire-hardened in kilns. Viewers can also see how people who were rented to hotelkeepers as property rose from their quarters in basements and outbuildings before daylight every morning to haul water, lay fires, and prepare meals for faculty and students, in many cases laboring behind the high serpentine walls that were constructed to conceal their presence.

View of a lane between the high, red brick, serpentine walls at the University. Trees rise against the sky in the background.

Graphic rendering of a detail from Thomas Jefferson’s plans for UVA’s serpentine walls, superimposed on a 1910 postcard showing the original 8-foot height of walls, which hid the life and labor of enslaved individuals inside “garden” spaces.

Only 600 names of UVA’s estimated 4,000 enslaved workers are currently known. Among them are husband and wife William and Isabella Gibbons who were divided by enslavement to serve professors in separate households. William Gibbons, a butler, taught himself to read by “observing and listening” to white students. His was a quiet resistance to prohibitions against educating enslaved people. Isabella Gibbons, a domestic servant, likewise risked punishment by teaching their daughter in secret. UVA residence hall Gibbons House is named in their honor.

Identifying marks etched into granite: names, occupations, and horizontal lines that recognize the as-yet-unnamed enslaved laborers who worked in the University.

Free people of color also resisted the social path that whites had mapped out for them. In 1833, seamstress Catherine “Kitty” Foster purchased a little more than two acres which became part of an African American neighborhood known as Canada. An aluminum frame has been erected which casts a shadow tracing the foundation of her house, recovering an idea of the physical space in which people of color lived and worked.

The tour includes a stop at the newly dedicated Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, where hundreds of names of the enslaved at UVA are engraved into the memorial’s innermost ring. Names of enslaved laborers still unknown are represented by slashes etched into the granite of the memorial. Research is ongoing to identify the many individuals not yet recognized, and these “memory marks” serve as placeholders in hopes that the missing names will one day be added.

Follow changing perceptions of gender in “Gender: Identity and Social Change”

Women marching, laughing and smiling, carrying banners that read "We're nice."

The Library’s new online resource “Gender: Identity and Social Change” examines the history of gender in the English-speaking world, beginning with coercive enforcement of gender roles in the nineteenth century and moving through twentieth century activism toward a more inclusive reality. The experiences of peope, both famous and unsung, reveal how views of gender have impacted the women’s suffrage and feminist movements; employment and the workplace; personal conduct and manners; and education and legislation.

Material in “Gender: Identity and Social Change” has been compiled from extensive international archival collections in Great Britain, the United States, Canada, and Australia, showing the significant changes in perceptions of gender over time. Primary sources include records of women’s and men’s organizations and interest groups, advice literature and etiquette books, personal diaries and correspondence, pamphlets, speeches, newsletters, and newspaper clippings. The resource also makes available a rich selection of visual material, including photographs, illustrations, posters, scrapbooks, and objects that shed light on both key historical figures and ordinary people.

Primary documents in the collection cover the following topics and more:

  • Women’s Suffrage — The fight for voting rights, including campaigns, activities, organizations, and pioneers of gender equality.
  • Employment and Labor — Changing expectations in the workplace. The contrast between paid and unpaid labor, and the divide between public and private work environments.
  • Feminism — Feminist activism, which went from challenging gender inequality in the nineteenth century to demanding equality in employment and education in the 1960s.
  • Legislation and Legal Cases — The fight for equality in the courts. Bills and acts that shed light on the legal history of women’s suffrage.
  • Government and Politics — Changes to traditional gender roles traced through activism for positive change. Includes correspondence, reports, and first-hand accounts.
  • Leisure and Entertainment — Periodicals, books, and records of how leisure activities that were considered appropriate for a specific gender have shifted over time.
  • Education and Training — Male and female perspectives on both formal and informal education and how opportunities were defined by gender.
  • Conduct and Politeness — Nineteenth century advice literature and etiquette books defining proper conduct for a different genders, such as “How to stand correctly,” “How to Serve a Dainty Tea,” and “Advice to young men on their duties and conduct in life.”
  • Sex and Sexuality — Gender, physical relations, sexual orientation, and self-expression. The response of different segments of society to sex, sexuality, and topics which were considered taboo.
  • The Body — Gendered perceptions of the body that analyze and challenge traditional gender roles: how we dress our bodies, abortion, and more.

Other materials in the resource include essays, biographies, and video interviews of leading academics, adding background and context to the primary sources, and a chronology that traces events on a timeline. Find out about the jailing of John Stuart Mill in 1823 for distributing pamphlets on birth control, about Oberlin College in Ohio becoming the first college in the United States to admit men and women together in 1833, or that a union run completely by female textile workers petitioned the Massachusetts General Court in 1845 demanding a 10-hour workday.

Adding new voices to Library resources

Through January, we’re publishing year-in-review highlights from FY2021. Download a full PDF of this year’s Annual Report to read more! This week we’re looking at ways we’re learning to work better, together.

In 2020, the Library created and acquired new resources covering an array of languages and cultures, and added new voices in its communication with the Charlottesville community. A guide to Swahili/Kiswahili Studies, combining Library holdings with open web resources, provided access to information about East Africa’s language and culture. And the Library’s Spanish-language COVID-19 information guide — created when the pandemic began — continued to reach a population disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

Katrina Spencer, Librarian for African American and African Studies, created the Library’s African Studies Guide, linking to Africa-Wide Information, an aggregation of nearly 50 databases sourced from Africa, Europe and the U.S., and collaborated with Dr. Anne Rotich of the Carter G. Woodson Institute to compile a guide to Swahili/Kiswahili Studies. Swahili is spoken by more than 100 million people, primarily in East Africa. Resources in the guide include books in the Library’s collection that cover African commerce, history, language, and literature, but also videos that help with Swahili vocabulary and proper usage; websites with links to radio broadcasts of African hip-hop and more traditional music from Tanzania, Kenya and other countries; books for young people from Africa Access and other sources; scholarly articles from East African Journals; and African perspectives on the world from news outlets such as All Africa, BBC Swahili, VOA Swahili, and more.

In spring of 2020, ACRL Diversity Alliance Librarian Hanni Nabahe, aware that COVID-19 was infecting a disproportionately high number of Latinx people (25% of all cases reported in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area, although the area’s Hispanic population is less than 5%), recognized a need to aggregate Spanish-language COVID resources, which were not all in one place or easy to find. Nabahe, a U.S. citizen originally from Veracruz, Mexico and a member of the local Spanish-speaking community, partnered with Virginia Tech librarian Ana Corral to create “COVID-19 Apoyo e Información” (“COVID-19 Support and Information”), a guide bringing together links to Spanish-language websites where people could find information on prevention, symptoms, and identification of COVID-19, and what to do in case of contact or illness. The site includes information about food, housing, and medical care, as well as information for families with children, indigenous communities, immigrant communities, and UVA students. The guide, which rose to one of the top three most viewed guides of 750 published by the Library, continues to perform well and has expanded its reach from Northern Virginia to Tidewater, with new partners using Nabahe’s guide as a template.

Finally, the Library added to its growing share of socially aware online resources. In addition to popular titles such as the Ebony Magazine Archive and The Women’s Magazine Archive, the Library acquired access to other, less well-known databases such as:


Two hundred years of unabridged journalism involving American history and events in Spanish-speaking countries not always available in traditional U.S. papers.


Thousands of audio recordings, videos, field notebooks, and images examining how music and culture interact.


A view of history in the making from a Black perspective.

Five Reasons to visit the Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library

Guest post by Fine Arts Library Public Service Manager April Baker

Just off Rugby Road and behind the Fralin Museum of Art, the Fiske Kimball Fine Arts Library is located in Campbell Hall, home to UVA’s School of Architecture. Built in 1970, Campbell Hall was recently added to the Virginia Landmarks Registry. The Fine Arts Library, with its sunny spaces lit by floor-to-ceiling windows, is where artists, architects, dancers, actors, art historians, and students come to study and meet.

Exterior of Campbell Hall, a rectangular, red brick building against a background of sky and clouds.

Campbell Hall, home to the Fine Arts Library and the UVA School of Architecture.

Five Reasons to visit the Fine Arts Library:

  1. Accessibility to all. Recent renovations have added gender-inclusive, wheel-chair accessible restrooms to the library’s main and second floors! All four bathrooms are spacious and private with single-user locks. While there is no elevator, there is wheelchair access to the second floor through the Architecture School.
  2. Reservable spaces. Spaces are available for study groups, job interviews, planning sessions, consultations, practicing skits, and working on art projects. In the Materials Collection Room you can spread out your project work, study architectural building materials, or just meet up with friends. The Conference Room (mini-board room) is ideal for group study and club meetings. And the R-Lab is a creative collaborative space perfect for forums, presentations, and group discussions.
  3. Robust collection. New books arrive daily — current periodicals with timely scholarship in the areas of art, architecture, urban planning, archeology, and indigenous studies, and large folio volumes containing glorious images. Architectural building materials including design samples (anything from flooring to insulation to windows to green insulation blocks made from dead fungi) are housed in the Materials Collection room, and the library’s reference section contains the complete “Corpus Vasorum Antiquorum,” detailing the shapes of vases.
  4. Creative tools. The library has high-end scanners connected to Macs equipped with Reaper and Unity programs (useful in creating video games and general visual rendering), and the Harris Matrix program for archeologists diagraming stratum.
  5. Study carrels for graduate students. The Fine Arts Library has 44 reservable study carrels that may be checked out for the academic year and can be renewed each year. These assigned desks are used by grad students to study and store books. There are carrels which are still available for the spring semester!

Have a research question? Please feel free to make an appointment with Research Librarian for Architecture Rebecca A. Coleman, or Art, Archaeology, Classics, and Indigenous Studies Librarian Lucie Stylianopoulos. And do come and visit, whatever you are studying, and discover why you just might make Fiske Kimball your personal go-to library! See maps and directions to all Library locations.

Wooden desk surfaces with shelves for book in back.

Study carrels in the Fine Arts Library are reservable to UVA graduate students.

Sunlight spills over chairs and oval tables.

The Fine Arts Library bridge from the Architecture school.

Cushioned chairs around a small, square table, facing a windowpanes forming one corner of the library.

Corner window study space in the Fine Arts Library.


Building a framework for inclusive excellence

Through January, we’re publishing year-in-review highlights from FY2021. Download a full PDF of this year’s Annual Report to read more! This week we’re looking at ways we’re learning to work better, together.

In support of its diversity, equity, inclusion, and access efforts, a critical part of the vision for the future as outlined in the University’s 2030 Plan, UVA is implementing the Inclusive Excellence (IE) framework. This means that schools/departments/units within the University are working to study areas of strength and areas in need of improvement within the IE framework’s dimensions and creating a working action plan with measurable results.

The IE framework has five basic dimensions:

  • ACCESS + SUCCESS, which includes processes such as recruitment, retention, and development, along with long-term outcomes such as tenure and career advancement.
  • CLIMATE + INTERGROUP RELATIONS, which focuses on building an organization where individuals are supported and respected and feel a sense of belonging.
  • EDUCATION + SCHOLARSHIP, which covers the ways that teaching, research, scholarship, and employee and student development contribute to diversity, equity, and inclusion and promote intercultural awareness.
  • INFRASTRUCTURE + INVESTMENT, which refers to factors such as the policies, resources, performance metrics, and organizational and communication structures that govern the work of an organization.
  • COMMUNITY + PARTNERSHIP, which relates to how placebased organizations such as UVA engage and interact with the surrounding community, and how such organizations track their impact on those communities and partners.

The Library’s IE working group is tasked with an organizational self-assessment and the creation of goals, actions, metrics, and a timeframe for each of the five dimensions. In addition, the team added a sixth goal for the Library, HEALING + REPAIR, which refers to the reckoning with past harms to groups due to injustice, oppression, and racist practices such as slavery, indigenous dispossession, and eugenics.

Inclusive Excellence efforts began with the self-assessment and then proceeded to engage Library staff with a survey, a series of listening sessions, and small group conversations, followed by presentations and Q&A sessions at Library staff Town Halls. The feedback informed a report which outlines the current state of the Library’s inclusion efforts, which reflects a number of encouraging successes, but also clearly shows many areas in need of improvement. As a step towards that improvement, the Library brought in author and organizational change consultant Dr. Kathy Obear of the Center for Transformational Change to lead a development program for Library senior leadership and Library managers, with a plan to extend training to all Library staff. The aim of the program is to deepen the capacity of staff at all levels of the organization to effectively guide systemic organizational change and accelerate progress towards achieving IE goals, including becoming a racially equitable and inclusive organization.

The work continued as the IE task force, with help from the Library’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility committee, created the preliminary plans outlining desired outcomes and the actions, timeframes, responsibilities, and resources necessary to achieve those goals, along with the metrics that will define success. The plans will be refined with further input from Library staff and other stakeholders, finalized, and submitted to University administration, with implementation to begin in the fall of 2021.

First floor of Clemons closed for repairs; expected to re-open early February

Unexpected leaks from the lower patio on Clemons Library have unfortunately led to leakage on the first floor, necessitating a closure of the first floor study spaces and stacks for repair.

At this time, the space is expected to re-open in the beginning of February.

Primary impacts from the closure involve access to Library materials and use of first floor study spaces.

Accessing materials:

Most materials shelved on the first floor of Clemons are now available “by request” in Virgo. To use this service, locate the item in Virgo, and click “Request item.” You’ll be prompted to log in to complete your request. See full instructions about how to make a request in Virgo.

Some items from the collection are currently being repaired and will not be available for immediate physical access, but interlibrary loan can request copies for you. Questions? Ask a Librarian on web chat, phone, text, or email.

When the space re-opens, some parts of the collection will remain shelved in other locations to facilitate repair.

Study space:

Furniture repair and replacement is underway, in hopes of re-opening the study space as soon as possible. In the meantime, low winter traffic should lend ample space to visitors wanting to study or conduct group work on the second, third, and fourth floor of Clemons.

Alternately: ready for a change? Try something new! Brown, Fine Arts, and Music are all open this semester! See all Library hours.

See maps and directions to all Library spaces.


Any changes to the timeline will be posted here, as well as to the Library’s Status Dashboard and social media. We appreciate your patience as 2022 is delivering surprises to us all!

Confronting injustice with the 21 Day Equity Challenge

Through January, we’re publishing year-in-review highlights from FY2021. Download a full PDF of this year’s Annual Report to read more! This week we’re looking at ways we’re learning to work better, together.

The Library committee for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility (IDEA) introduced a 21-day equity challenge in November of 2020, encouraging staff to select one action per day to learn about issues of inequity in society. The voluntary challenge was designed to last 21 days with the hope that new experiences will not only help staff develop a perspective on the world that does not gloss over systemic racism, but will instill new habits that last long after the challenge has ended. The effort was inspired by similar programs in the Albemarle County Office of Equity and Inclusion and the Duke University Library.

Each day, staff participating in the challenge confronted inequities that occur every day in the world around them by taking part in a variety of activities — reading an article, a book chapter, or comic; listening to a song or podcast; watching a video or movie; or just observing the built-in dynamics of inequity in plain sight and resisting the impulse to retreat from uncomfortable discoveries. Staff could either create their own activities or find material compiled in lists of resources, including the Library’s own Understanding Difference resource guide.

Afterward, they reflected on the experience, perhaps writing down their thoughts in a journal. They could also download a tracker on which to chart their progress and could sign up to enlist the aid of a 21 Day Challenge Accountability Buddy. The IDEA Committee hosted three sessions in which participants came together in small groups to discuss their experiences and observations over Zoom. Finishing the challenge could also count toward completing the Understanding Difference goal, a yearly staff performance requirement.

Below is just a sampling of material available to challenge and aid Library staff:


“White Librarianship in Blackface: Diversity Initiatives in LIS,” April Hathcock.

“The Black Power Movement and the Asian American Movement,” Evelyn Chen.

“How NOT to be an Ally,” Kim A. Case, Ph.D.

”My Life as an Undocumented Immigrant,” Jose Antonio Vargas.

“How White Parents Can Talk to Their Kids About Race,” National Public Radio.

”How America is Failing Native American Students,” Rebecca Clarren.


“Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You,” Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi.

“Where Are All the Librarians of Color?: The Experiences of People of Color in Academia,” coedited by Rebecca Hankins and Miguel Juárez.

“Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome,” Dr. Joy DeGruy.

“The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America,” Richard Rothstein.


TED Radio Hour Mary Bassett: How Does Racism Affect Your Health?

NPR Morning Edition You Cannot Divorce Race from Immigration.


“The US medical system is still haunted by slavery” Vox YouTube clip.

“Digital Blackness in the Archive: Supporting Research” YouTube video.

Join the University in celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This year, the main theme of the University’s Martin Luther King Day celebration is “Why We Can’t Wait,” taken from the title of King’s third book whose message, according to Kevin McDonald, UVA’s vice president for diversity equity, inclusion, and community, “rings just as true today as it did in 1964. As we enter another year of a pandemic that continues to profoundly impact the world and exacerbate the stark disparities in our society, it’s important to remember that we can’t sit idly by. In fact, there’s no better time than the present to be actively engaged in transformational efforts.”

Please attend one of the events scheduled in January:

FREE copies of “Why We Can’t Wait” — King’s best-selling account of the civil rights movement in Birmingham during the spring and summer of 1963 — are available from the following locations, while supplies last:

Several hard copies of this title are available by request from Clemons Library through Virgo, the Library’s catalog. UVA Library also has an ebook version that UVA students, faculty, and staff can read online at their convenience.

“Why We Can’t Wait” recounts the Birmingham campaign in vivid detail, underscoring why 1963 was such a crucial year for the civil rights movement. During this time, Birmingham, Alabama, was perhaps the most racially segregated city in the United States. Against the background of the campaign of nonviolent direct action, King examines the history of the civil rights struggle and the tasks that future generations must accomplish to bring about full equality. The book includes the extraordinary “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” which King wrote in April of 1963.

Please check the full calendar of in-person and virtual events honoring the slain civil rights leader.