Skip to main content


Allison L Burnett papers

 Unprocessed Material — Multiple Containers
Identifier: ViU-2022-0002

Content Description

This collection contains the Civil Rights papers of Dr. Allison L Burnett, a biology professor at the University of Virginia and an active member in social movements, who was an organizer of the efforts and petition drive to integrate the University Theater near the University of Virginia. The papers include twenty-one long-sheet petitions, fourteen newspaper clippings, and six pieces of correspondence. The long-sheet petitions, each one or two pages, are signed by students and faculty in support of the integration of the University Theater and the institution of a city-wide boycott towards the furtherance of this goal. Most of the signers indicate whether they are a student or faculty member along with their department. The newspaper clippings, some with photographs, are from local newspapers with information on segregation, integration efforts, student profiles, and discussions on the boycott with some editorials for and against. One long editorial, "Reflecting Discredit?," reprinted from the Virginia Law Weekly, condemned an editorial in the Cavalier Daily which objected to the boycott and the theater integration goals and efforts. The six pieces of correspondence are comprised of the following: a memorandum to T. Hoyt Drake and Peter Wiernik from B.F.D. Runk in the Office of the Dean which, while supportive, offers a reminder that the "Committee for Desegregation of the University Theater" is not authorized by the University, and therefore, cannot use "University of Virginia" in their titles; a note on a recital program from A.J. Boulton offering both support towards the petition and financial assistance; a two page handwritten letter to Dr. Burnett from Nancy Clare Holdman, an American Red Cross social worker, lavishing praise on the boycott; a typed and signed letter to Dr. Burnett from J.B. Hamilton, minister of the Mount Zion Baptist Church, expressing appreciation and desire to cooperate with the cause; a copy of Plume & Sword, a student-operated weekly literature review, containing critical commentary on a Cavalier Daily editorial which condemned the boycott, a poem by E.E. Cummings, and an appreciation commentary of Henry Glassie by a young Malcom G. Scully; and an unsigned, typed, one page letter expressing dismay towards desegregation and Dr. Burnett for becoming involved in "the negro situation." This collection also includes a signed program for Project "Survival," a public teach-out on the environmental problems of man, hosted by the Northwestern Community for a Better Environment. Dr. Burnett helped to organize this first event at Northwestern University.

Acquisition Type



Purchased, 12 November 2022.

Restrictions Apply


Access Restrictions

Handle gently. There is some darkening on some of the papers due to fire damage, and as a result, some of the petitions are brittle. The petitions also have been folded with have wear and stains, and are bound with rusty staples.


  • c. 1960s



.08 Cubic Feet (Two legal size folders)


2 folders