Fendley: School System Will Commemorate Integration Anniversary


(Wednesday, April 23, 2008 5:40 PM EDT)

Arlington School Board Chairman Ed Fendley has told the Sun Gazette that the school system will hold an appropriate commemoration to mark the 50th anniversary of the integration of county schools.

That commemoration would take place next February, a half-century after Stratford Junior High School became the first public school in Virginia to integrate. (The school building, located on Vacation Lane, now houses the H-B Woodlawn Program.)

“Staff members are starting to plan now,” Fendley told the paper. “Arlington does have a long tradition of leadership in promoting civil rights, and I want to continue to ensure that we commemorate that and recognize that.”

“I certainly think we'll have some time to see what's best, and accept views from members of the community,” Fendley said of the planning process.

Despite fears that integration of Arlington schools would lead to confrontation, the February day in which Stratford saw its first black students turned out to be generally uneventful.

It was the start of a multi-year process that ended state-mandated segregation in the county school system, as the Virginia government's "Massive Resistance" approach to federally-ordered integration collapsed.

When first contacted by the paper about plans for commemorating the anniversary, school officials seemed unsure whether such a commemoration would take place. Fendley's statement appears to have decided for them.


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