Editor's Notebook

No Commemoration of the Anniversary of Integration?

April 5, 2008

Next February marks the 50th anniversary of the first integration of public schools in Virginia, and it all started in Arlington (also, that day, in Norfolk).

The place was Stratford Junior High School, now the H-B Woodlawn Program. And while the integration of Virginia's schools took well over a decade to complete, it began in the first week of February in 1959.

I asked our intrepid Kristen Armstrong to call the Arlington school system and find out what they were planning to commemorate that day. The word that came back was as astounding as it was unacceptable: the school system had no plans for a major commemoration, we were told.

No plans? To be blunt: That's simply not going to do.

I will assume School Board Chairman Ed Fendley, or one of his allies, will be reading this, so I'll suggest that the chairman "encourage" the staff to put together a planning committee to commemorate this anniversary.

Because, if news gets out that the school system is going to skip a chance to observe the 50th anniversary of a momentous event in local, and state, history, the backlash will be immediate and, in my view, completely justified.

As the minister at McLean Bible Church says, not a sermon, just a thought. OK, it's a bit of a sermon, too.

Return to index of articles