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Michael D'Orso Collection on the Rosewood Massacre

Collection ID: MG 67

Scope and Contents

The collection contains notes and research material collected by Michael D'Orso while writing Like Judgment Day: The Ruin and Redemption of a Town Called Rosewood. The book concerns the massacre of an African American village in Florida in 1923. Included in the collection are interview tapes and transcripts of survivors; manuscripts and galley proofs for the book; as well as photographs, newspaper clippings, and other background research related to the Rosewood case. In 1994, Florida became the first state to compensate survivors and their dependents for damages incurred due to racial violence.


  • circa 1923-1995, undated
  • Other: Date acquired: 04/22/1999



6.00 Linear Feet

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Biographical or Historical Information

Mike D'Orso earned both his undergraduate degree in philosophy and his master's degree in English from the College of William and Mary. He taught high school English and has been a staff writer for Commonwealth magazine. As a writer for the Virginian-Pilot Newspaper he won numerous national honors including the Penney-Missouri Prize for general feature writing and three Pulitzer Prize nominations. D'Orso's work has also appeared in publications such as Sports Illustrated, Fortune, Reader's Digest and People magazine. Additionally he has written a chapter on journalism research methods for The Complete Book of Feature Writing; and his writing on author Jack Kerouac has been included in both Studies in American Fiction and the QPB Literary Review. Mike D'Orso has also written 13 non-fiction books (see Bibliography). Included among those works is Like Judgment Day: The Ruin and Redemption of a Town Called Rosewood, which was a New York Times best- seller, and American Library Association Notable Book of the Year, and winner of the Lillian Smith Book Award for writing on the subject of social justice. The Papers of Mike D'Orso housed in the Old Dominion University Special Collections consists of his notes, interview transcripts, research done while writing Like Judgement Day.

Note written by Special Collections Staff

Language of Materials



Writer for the Virginia Pilot Newspaper, author of 13 nonfiction books. This collection contains D’Orso’s notes and research material collected while writing Like Judgment Day: The Ruin and Redemption of a Town Called Rosewood. The collection includes interview tapes and transcripts, photographs, newspaper clippings, and other research materials.

Arrangement Note

The collection is organized into five series: Series I: Interviewees and Historical Figures; Series II: Background Research; Series III: Legal/Legislative Papers; Series IV: Editing of Manuscript; and Series V: Audio, Video, Electronic Files.

Source of Acquisition

Michael D'Orso

Method of Acquisition

Gift. Accession #99-10

Related Publications

Bibilography: Seeds of Hope: A Physician's Personal Triumph Over In Praise of Public Life, with Joseph Lieberman, Simon & Schuster, 2000; In Praise of Public Life, with Joseph Lieberman, Simon & Schuster, 2000; Winning with Integrity: Getting What You're Worth Without Selling Your Soul, with Leigh Steinberg, Times Books, 1999; Body-for-Life: 12 Weeks to Mental and Physical Strength, with Bill Phillips, HarperCollins Publishers, 1999; Somerset Homecoming: Recovering a Lost Heritage, with Dorothy Spruill Redford, University of North Carolina Press, 1998; Walking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement, with John Lewis, Harcourt Brace, 1998; Thin is Just a Four-letter Word: Living Fit--for All Shapes and Sizes, with Dee Hakala, Dell, 1997; Like Judgment Day: The Ruin and Redemption of a Town Called Rosewood, Boulevard Books, 1996; Pumping Granite: And Other Portraits of People at Play, Texas Tech University Press, 1994; Rise and Walk: The Trial and Triumph of Dennis Byrd, with Dennis Byrd, HarperCollins, 1993; For the Children: Lessons from a Visionary Principal, with Madeline Cartwright, Doubleday, 1993; The Cost of Courage: The Journey of an American Congressman, with Carl Eliott, Doubleday, 1992; Fast Takes: Slices of Life Through a Journalist's Eye, Hampton Roads Publishing Co., 1990.

A Guide to the Michael D'Orso Collection on the Rosewood Massacre
Janice Halecki
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the ODU Community Collections Repository

3000 Perry Library
4427 Hampton Blvd.
Norfolk VA 23529 US