In 1963, Black Danville residents took to the streets for months to peacefully protest segregation. They were arrested and confronted by the police, often violently. Until recently, many of their stories were passed over by institutional historians.

Sixty years later, here’s how the movement shaped Danville.

Bloody Monday

reported by Grace Mamon

“We never thought about, oh, this is making history. We never thought of any of that. We just knew that we have to do this now. We can’t wait any longer, it has to be done now.”

Dorothy Moore-Batson, civil rights protester

In the summer of 1963, several local Black ministers in Danville organized peaceful demonstrations against segregation and racial discrimination. The first protest, held on May 31, went off as planned.

In the following days, police began to make arrests, and then turned to deputizing garbage men and other city workers to arrest protesters. 

On June 10, violence erupted. By the end of the night, at least 47 mostly Black protesters were injured, and 60 had been arrested. The day became known as Bloody Monday. 

Despite the violent police response, demonstrations continued throughout the summer. By fall, Danville’s white city leaders began to meet a few of the protesters’ demands.

In honor of Bloody Monday’s 60th anniversary, reporter Grace Mamon took a deeper look at the history of Bloody Monday and the change that followed, how the protests are remembered by the community and the individuals who were there sixty years ago.

This is an ongoing project. There are stories about Danville’s 1960s civil rights movement and current racial justice work we haven’t heard yet. Reach out to reporter Grace Mamon with your stories at, or submit an anonymous tip using the form below.

“There was something really fearsome and rigid about this place. I hope it’s changed.”

Dorothy Zellner