Paul M. Gaston

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Paul M. Gaston is a former professor of history at the University of Virginia who specializes in history of the United States South as well as American Civil Rights. Paul Gaston was a renowned historian of the American South, who taught for forty years at the University of Virginia.[1]. A former President of the Southern Regional Council, he was well known in the area during the 1960s for his Civil Rights activism. He died on June 14, 2019. [2]

UVA will name a residence hall on Brandon Avenue for Gaston when it opens in 2024. [3]

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Born in Fairhope, Alabama, Paul Gaston arrived in Charlottesville in the fall of 1957 as a junior instructor of history at UVA. During his time in Charlottesville, Gaston became heavily involved in the Civil Rights Movement and local race relations. He was involved in several demonstrations, most famously the 1963 sit-ins at Buddy's Restaurant, which is remembered as one of the pivotal events leading to the desegregation of the Charlottesville area.[4][5]

Gaston has published several books and articles on Civil Rights and Affirmative Action, as well as the history of the United States South.


In January, 1988, Gaston was interviewed as part of the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society Oral History project. The following is a recording of the interview with Gaston by Charles "Chic" Moran:

Part 1:

<play audio> </play audio>

Part 2:

<play audio> </play audio>

Part 3:

<play audio> </play audio>


  • B.A. Swarthmore College, 1952
  • M.A. University of North Carolina, 1955
  • Ph.D. University of North Carolina. 1961[6]

Honors & Awards

  • 2008 – Legendary Civil Rights Activist Award, NAACP
  • 2005 – Bridge Builders Award, City of Charlottesville
  • 2004 – Brown v. Board of Education Recognition Award, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
  • 2001 – Arabella Carter Award for Community Service, Swarthmore College
  • 2001 – Honoree, Remember the Struggle: Charlottesville-Albemarle Branch, NAACP
  • 1998 – Life Fellow, Southern Regional Council
  • 1994 – Outstanding Faculty Award, State Council of Higher Education in Virginia
  • 1978 – Bethune-Roosevelt Award, University of Virginia
  • 1970 – Lillian Smith Award for Distinguished Writing about the South[6]


  1. Web. [ An Oral History Interview With Paul M. Gaston, University of Virginia Professor of History and Civil Rights Activist], Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, 2020
  2. Web. Local civil rights icon Gaston dies, Ruth Severn Smith, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, June 20, 2019, retrieved June 25, 2019.
  3. Web. Building and Grounds Committee approves plan for new video scoreboard at Scott Stadium, naming of two new upper-class residence halls, Priya Kommu, News Article, Cavalier Daily, September 15, 2023, retrieved Septmeber 28, 2023.
  4. Web. "Sitting In" in the Sixties, Paul M. Gaston, University of Virginia, retrieved June 19, 2012.
  5. Web. Buddy's Restaurant, The Journey Through Hallowed Ground Partnership, retrieved June 19, 2012.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Web. Paul M. Gaston, University of Virginia, Corcoran Department of History, retrieved June 19, 2012.

External Links

Gaston Profile, Corcoran Dept. of History