About the Archive

This website is a digital archive of documents from the Edwin Washington Project collection, which covers the period of segregation in Loudoun County. It also presents interpretive materials created by EWP researchers and others.

Many items are presented on this website in digitized form and some are only available by request. However, you will be able to use this website as a finding aid to search all documents in the collection whether digitized or not.

You can browse the collection on this website in many ways such as browsing by topics, schools, and instructors or by using the advanced search to search for items by keyword or other metadata.

The catalogue was developed to organize the physical collection that comprises the records that were rescued from an abandoned schoolhouse in Leesburg as well as privately held documents from history clubs like the Lovettsville Historical Society, the Prosperity Baptist Church in Conklin (South Riding, Loudoun County), the Balch Library in Leesburg, and institutions such Virginia State University, Howard University, Swarthmore and others.

The catalogue organizes the material by topic and has a numbering system. Most of the digitzed records contain the collection number and folder name in the title to refer to the physical location as follows:

  1. Civil Rights
  2. Petitions, Plans, School Boards and Districts
  3. Superintendent Files and Annual Reports
  4. Faculty, Staff and PTA
  5. Curriculum
  6. Students and Scholarships
  7. Health: Mental and Physical
  8. Budget and Administration
  9. Deeds, Schools, and Construction
  10. Libraries
  11. Insurance
  12. Transportation
  13. Statistical Studies
  14. Town and County Histories
  15. Clubs, Fairs, Contests, Sports, and Music
  16. Photography and Videos
  17. News, Clippings, and Publicity
  18. Appendix
  19. Dirt Don't Burn Studies

Physical preservation of the records starts with each document and book being scanned and filed in preservation collection boxes, which are organized into 15 categories, corresponding to the catalogue numbering system. 

Digital scans of the documents are held on external hard drives and a cloud repository. Persons interested in a topic listed in this online catalogue are welcome to contact the project administration and make a request for materials if they cannot be found here.

Volunteers at the Edwin Washington Project are working on making these records available to the public both in a physical space and digitally through this website. In addition to providing access to the primary documents contained in the collection, the project volunteers are doing research on various topics, which will be presented on this website as well as in a book called Dirt Don’t Burn, the title of which is inspired by a school teacher who complained about running out of coal and wood one very cold winter.

We would like to thank: Loudoun County Public Schools, the NAACP, the Balch Library, the Black History Committee of the Friends of the Balch Library, the Lovettsville Historical Society, the Members of the Prosperity Baptist Church, Wynne Saffer, Gene Scheel, Oatlands Historic House and Gardens, and the Archives of the Circuit Court of Loudoun County for their assistance.