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Allison L. Burnett papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSS 16656

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. 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 this 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.

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 have been folded with have wear and stains, and are bound with rusty staples. The petition sheets also contain pencil and ink annotations from an unknown organizer as the seller, the son of Dr. Burnett, indicated that these notes are not his father's handwriting.


  • Creation: c. 1960s


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.


.08 Cubic Feet (Two legal size folders)

Language of Materials


Guide to the Allison L. Burnett papers
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library Repository

Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library
P.O. Box 400110
University of Virginia
Charlottesville Virginia 22904-4110 United States