Historic Records: Desegregation

Learn about the desegregation of Fairfax County Public Schools.

A Note on Language

When you research the history of Fairfax County Public Schools during the period of 1870 to 1970, you will invariably encounter racially-charged language that is archaic and often problematic by modern standards. In particular, the primary source documents from the period use the terms “Colored” and “Negro” to commonly describe students and schools. Where the following records quote directly from the primary source material, the terminology used in the document has been retained.

The following historic records pertain to the desegregation of Fairfax County’s public schools. Primary sources include the meeting minutes of the Fairfax County School Board, personal correspondence of Superintendent W. T. Woodson and School Board members, desegregation reports to the School Board, oral histories, and newspaper articles. Additionally, efforts have been made to provide answers to common questions posed by researchers such as: Where were the former all-African-American schools located? And, what happened to the African-American teachers after desegregation? New information will be added to this collection as it becomes available.

This records collection was created with assistance from staff at the Virginia Room, Fairfax County Public Library, who provided research guidance and access to records in the library’s archive, and with the assistance of West Springfield High School students in the Applied History program who provided transcriptions of documents and newspaper articles.