WSLS-TV’s Civil Rights Movement Digital Archive

WSLS-TV’s Civil Rights Movement Digital Archive

WSLS-TV in Roanoke has a little piece of history that may be the only surviving archive from that era.

Historical researchers, documentary filmmakers, and educators can now access television news reports in an online archive from Virginia’s civil rights era.

However, the news archive does not just include coverage of the civil rights movement; it also includes coverage ranging from beauty pageants to polio vaccinations of first- and second-graders, depicting life in Virginia from 1951 to 1971.

When launched at the beginning of August, the archive contained 3,600 news clips.  But, another 13,000 clips and 18,000 pages of anchor scripts will be added by the end of this year.

“This is the first big moving image digitization project done by the library that will be accessible to everybody,” Leigh Rockey, the library’s preservation specialist, said in a press release. “Once people get in there and look at it, they’re going to be really excited, and they’re going to want to go through all of it.

University of Virginia students will be able to view news footage as events occurred for research, papers, and other assignments.

A grant for $254,600 was provided by the National Endowment for Humanities to help pay for preserving and digitizing the news collection.

To read the full article, visit the Roanoke Times’ website. 

To view WSLS-TV’s news film collection, visit University of Virginia’s Library here.

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