Historic Fulton Oral History Project

About this collection
The purpose of the Historic Fulton Oral History Project is to educate, to raise awareness, and to gain an understanding of life in the Historic Fulton community, located in the East End of Richmond, Virginia. Its need comes from a commitment to preserve the 20th century history of the neighborhood and its residents. This was accomplished through the compilation of the oral histories of Historic Fulton residents, particularly those with strong ties to the Historic Fulton community prior to the City of Richmond's 1970s urban renewal plan.

The Historic Fulton Oral History collection contains 17 interviews with 32 named interviewee participants. The interviewees are teachers, activists, clergy, and community leaders who grew up in the predominantly African-American Historic Fulton community in the 1930s through 1950s.

The interviewees were also witness to the City of Richmond's 1970s urban renewal plan that permanently changed the landscape of Historic Fulton. These interviews present the unique perspectives of those who were Historic Fulton residents by allowing the community to speak for and about themselves. With the Greater Historic Fulton area undergoing continued change and development in the 21st century, understanding Historic Fulton's past is an invaluable resource for the neighborhood's future.

The project was developed in 2011 in partnership among the Virginia Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), The Valentine, the Neighborhood Resource Center of Greater Fulton, and the Greater Fulton Future Legacy Work Team. Physical copies of audio recordings and written transcriptions were distributed to a variety of local institutions to ensure that the oral histories may be accessed widely. Contact information for institutions where physical recordings and transcripts are available for on site research and use can be found below.

VCU Libraries is honored to also host the streaming digital collection of the Historic Fulton Oral History Project to further aid in the discovery, access and use of the collection.

This material is protected by copyright, and the copyright is held by The Valentine. You are permitted to use this material in any way that is permitted by copyright. In addition, non-commercial use of this material is permitted. For any commercial uses, permission is required.

Using the collection
Full streaming copies of all audio interviews are available for use through this digital collection.

Each interview has been fully transcribed and is also searchable.

All of the interviewees in the Historic Fulton Oral History Project were born, raised or lived within the boundaries shown in red on this map.

Evelyn Bowman
Linda Braxton, Pamala Rogers and Sheila Smith
Theresita Braxton
Estelle Braxton-Davis
Bernadette Tart Clark
Forrest Dowden
Ida Ellet
Alice N. Ellis and Dudley R. Lanthrip
Carolyn Fuller
Joseph Highsmith and Annesto Highsmith Younger
Larcenia Johnson and Lula Mae Brady
Milton Johnson
Raymond Jones
Blanche Henderson Lewis and Samuel Henderson, Sr
Reverend Mary Patricia Perez
Linda Sutton
Historic Fulton Field Interview: Federal Branch, Ephraim Briggs, Wanda Brown, Charles Crawley, Waverly Hughes, Patricia Melvin, Eric Robinson, Willie Robinson, and Douglas White
Spencer Edward Jones, III (In-person access only. Please contact The Valentine for further information on how to access this interview.)

Spencer Edward Jones, III statement

January 15, 2015

"Tell the Truth – Shame the Devil!!"

My name is Spencer E. Jones III. I live today as I lived in 1977, when this photo was taken, by the mantra "Living In Truth." I was born in the middle house to the left of me, in the same room, delivered by the same doctor as was my mother, Mrs. Marion McNair. The address of that house that my mother and I were born in was 702 Denny Street. Those three homes were located at the corner of present day Fulton Street and Old Denny Street. I am very proud to say that I was the one who came up with the name Old Denny Street and Old Nicholson Street. The street pictured is 4700 Old Williamsburg Ave. To my right all the way to the James River is Rockett's. The 356 acres that made up the community then known as Fulton was leveled by the 1970 Fulton Urban [Removal] Renewal Plan. My mother and I along with our attorney Saad El-Amin, fought for our home in federal court and I say this proudly, we Won and are still Winning. Those 356 acres formerly known as Fulton is now known as Historic Fulton. Historic Fulton, which comprises Rockett's, is The Birthplace of Richmond.

We the people of Historic Fulton are here,

We the people of Historic Fulton survived,

We the people of Historic Fulton are special,

The time is now to Shame the devil!!

Spencer E. Jones III
Founder and CEO
The Historic Fulton Foundation

This project is in memory of the legacy of Earl A. Robinson, 708 Goddin Street.

Special thanks to all interviewees who shared their stories for this project. Additional thanks to the following:

  • Greater Fulton Legacy Work Team
  • Historic Fulton Oral History Project Sub-Committee:
    • Keith B. Conley
    • Corliss Freda Johnson
    • Reverend Mary Perez
    • Linda Sutton
    • Octavia Banks
    • Virgil Hockaday
    • Spencer E. Jones, III
  • Meg Hughes
  • Veronica Fleming
  • Rebecca Fralin
  • Dr. Caroline Morris
  • Erin O'Donnovan
  • Suzanne Savery
  • Jason Sawyer
  • Autumn Reinhardt Simpson

Spencer E. Jones, III, Reverend Mary Perez, and Linda Sutton worked tirelessly to obtain permission from all participants to include their interviews in this VCU Library project.

Physical copies and written transcriptions
Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia
00 W. Clay Street
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 780-9093

Boatwright Memorial Library
University of Richmond
28 Westhampton Way
University of Richmond, VA 23173
(804) 289-8876

James Branch Cabell Library
Special Collections and Archives
Virginia Commonwealth University
901 Park Avenue
Richmond, VA 23284-2033
(804) 828-1108

L. Douglas Wilder Library & Learning Resource Center
Virginia Union University
1500 N. Lombardy Street
Richmond, VA 23220
(804) 257-5820

Library of Virginia
800 E. Broad Street
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 692-3500

Mount Calvary Baptist Church
4401 Hobbs Lane
Richmond, VA 23231
(804) 236-0557

Neighborhood Resource Center
1519 Williamsburg Road
Richmond, VA 23231
(804) 864-5797

Richmond Public Library (Main Branch)
101 E. Franklin Street
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 646-7223

The Valentine
1015 E. Clay Street
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 649-0711

Virginia Historical Society
428 N. Boulevard
Richmond, VA 23221-0311
(804) 358-4901