Dark Days

The creation of the Rosenwald schools and St. Francis de Sales by Julius Rosenwald/Booker T. Washington and Katherine Drexel, respectively, were admirable endeavors in Virginia history, relative to the creation of proper education for otherwise disadvantaged African American students. Not all stories were positive, however. Prince Edward County in Virginia was notorious for their significant resistance to racial integration. Rather than allowing African American students to eventually integrate into their public schools, they elected to close them altogether - for FIVE years. Most of the white students eventually went to newly created private academies, leaving the African American students to go live with relatives in adjacent counties or quit school altogether. I've recently interacted with a  Richmond resident who attended this school in Prince Edward County as a young lady. She has very fond memories of her experience there, including winning a hula hoop contest on this very stage, defeating 7th graders that were several years her senior. She also has a memory that wasn't so fond....I will share it with you verbatim....."the one thing I will never forget occurred on the last day of school prior to summer vacation. Late that night, my dad and other "white" dads boarded up my school. It was horrible. Especially as a child. We didn't understand..."

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