Raymond Lee Bell
Ray's father, John Ferris Bell, moved to Charlottesville in 1917 and opened a funeral home. Ray was born alongside his twin brother, Henry H. Bell. Both boys attended and graduated from the Jefferson School. Ray was drafted into the armed forces in 1944 for service during World War II. At the time, he was attending what is now Hampton University. After the war, he finished his education at Boston University with a degree in 1952. Although he started graduate school there, he moved back to Charlottesville after learning that his father had cancer so that he could assist his brothers in running the funeral home.
Ray with active in the local NAACP - as their Public Relations chairman during the desegregation of local schools, he took a vital role in keeping policy's clear. Under his, Eugene Williams's and Charles Fowler's leadership, the NAACP in Charlottesville had one of the greatest increases in branch membership in the state of Virginia.  Ray spoke with national press, such as reporters from the N.Y. Times and young Mike Wallace, earned him wide respect.
Ray was approached by City Councilors Lindsey B. Mount and Bernard J. Haggerty to see if he would serve on the school board. After some persuasion, Ray became the first African- American to serve on the Charlottesville School Board when he was appointed by the City Council in 1963. He played a key role in the desegregation of Charlottesville schools, and his own children went to Venable School.
Oral History Collection
Bell was interviewed on December 18, 1980 as part of the project From Porch Swings to Patios: An Oral History of Charlottesville's Neighborhoods. The project was prepared by the Department of Community Planning Advisory Board and students of the University of Virginia. Listen to the audio below:
<play audio>http://www2.vcdh.virginia.edu/realmedia/audio/raceplace/porchswings/rbell/rbell_56.mp3 </play audio>
In 1993, Bell spoke to an audience about his memories of Charlottesville and the Vinegar Hill Community. The recording was captured by the Albemarle County Historical Society. Listen to the audio below:
<play audio>File:19930328MemoriesofVinegarHill-RayBell.MP3 </play audio>
- Web. Interview of Ray Bell on December 22, 1980, Prepared by the Department of Community Planning Advisory Board and students of the University of Virginia, From Porch Swings to Patios: An Oral History of Charlottesville's Neighborhoods, retrieved February 7, 2012.
- Web. Interview of Raymond Bell, George Gilliam and Mason Mills, The Ground Beneath Our Feet project, retrieved April 25, 2016.
- Web. Charlottesville Bridge Builders