The WSLS-TV Roanoke, Va., News Film Collection, 1951-1971

In 2007, WSLS-TV of Roanoke, Va., gave news film and scripts from their mid-20th century broadcasts to the University of Virginia Library for preservation and use. The resulting collection spans 1951 to 1971 and comprises approximately 13,000 clips. It also contains roughly 18,000 pages of the accompanying scripts read on air by anchorpersons.

In 2010, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded a grant of $254,600 to the Library for the preservation and digitization of both the film and the paper scripts. The NEH designated the collection a part of its "We the People" initiative, which seeks to encourage and enhance the study and understanding of American history, culture, and democratic principles.

Content includes a significant amount of coverage of Massive Resistance and the Civil Rights Movement in Virginia.

The WSLS-TV news film collection is now available to the public in digitized form through the Library's online catalog, Virgo. Each news story is searchable by both free-text keywords and controlled subject terms via Virgo. The collection record also offers date-based browsing. This exhibit presents a small selection of news clips and scripts.


University of Virginia Library Preservation Specialist Leigh Rockey curated and designed this online exhibit in July 2013. Please visit the Library's online catalog, Virgo, for access to the complete WSLS-TV collection.