This podcast is part of the series: BCRI Oral History
Birmingham Civil Rights Institute
Virginia Sparks Volker was born in Jasper, Alabama in 1940. An instructor of Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) since 1967, Volker has degrees from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and Harvard University. Actively involved in the Unitarian church and in many community organizations, Volker also directs an annual summer intensive course on the Civil Rights Movement. As a college student in the early 1960s, Volker participated in inter-racial discussion and social groups with students from Stillman College. Because such activities were illegal, Volker and her friends were strongly encouraged by university administrators to cease participation. However, even after she enrolled in graduate school at UAB, she continued to cross boundaries and participate in groups such as the Alabama Council on Human Relations and Friendship in Action. Listen to Virginia Volker explain how she and other White students came to socialize with Black college students in Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1960 and '61.