Skip to main content
ODU Libraries Online Exhibitions

Olivia Driver

Olivia Driver

(pictured behind
James Turner, Jr.)

Olivia Driver was one of seven students to integrate Norview High School. She was a 9th grader.

Olivia recalls being spat upon, having things thrown at her, being called names that can't be repeated - the 17 students endured all of this. It was definitely violent, even though the press reported that there was no violence. It may not have been what the public expected, but the Norfolk 17 felt it and lived it for several years of their lives.

As she mentioned at a program in 2004 honoring the Norfolk 17*, Lindsay believes that the city tried to prevent integration for years. She commented that Old Dominion University and Norfolk General Hospital wouldn't be here if not for people trying to keep blacks out of white schools. [She is referring to the urban development used to keep neighborhoods segregated, so that schools could be segregated.]

Olivia transferred to Booker T. Washington High School in her senior year. Her daughter Lisa Lindsay Shaw recounted this in an article in the New Journal & Guide (Honoring The Life Of Olivia, 2018): 

But one day, in her senior year, her mother chose to walk the four blocks home [alone] from Norview.
“Suddenly she encountered a group of White students who began to chase after her,” said Shaw. “They chased her and she landed in a ditch to escape them. She was covered in mud and grass. She managed to escape and make it home. That traumatized her so she chose not to return to Norview.”

Olivia Driver married and became Olivia Driver Lindsay. She retired as a teacher, living in Norfolk. She attended many of the events honoring the Norfolk 17 because she felt it was important that their story be told and remembered. Her recollections can be viewed on WHRO's The Norfolk 17: Their Story.

Olivia died on July 24, 2018 (Obituary).

* May 16, 2004, "Celebrating the Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education: Then and Now," Chrysler Museum.