Desegregation: In the News
Journalists Chronicled the Desegregation of FCPS
When you research the history of Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) 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 original source material, the terminology used in the document has been retained.
Because Fairfax County Public Schools has retained very few records pertaining to desegregation, one of the best sources of information is newspaper articles from that era. Articles from most of the following newspapers have been transcribed below, but some are in summary form due to copyright restrictions. Access to the summarized articles can be obtained through the Virginia Room, Fairfax County Public Library.
Well, of course, I had read very widely from the daily press from the various cities just what had gone on in the other areas and I had many nights of thought of what might occur here, and there were evidences of it vocally, but when the people of the community came to grips with it, it could not have passed more smoothly than it did.
~ Principal B. Oswald Robinson, Louise Archer Elementary
The Baltimore Afro-American
October 8, 1960, Page 17: Fairfax Admits 19 to 8 Schools. In compliance with an order issued by Federal Judge Albert V. Bryan last week, 19 colored pupils have been admitted to all-white or predominantly white schools in Fairfax County. In striking out the county’s grade-a-year integration plan, the judge ruled that “local conditions” were the key factor determining the rate of speed at which desegregation should proceed. The pupils were enrolled in classes at the following schools: Belvedere Elementary School, Cedar Lane Elementary School, Devonshire Elementary School, Hollin Hall Elementary School, Bryant Intermediate School, Parklawn Intermediate School, Lanier Intermediate School, and Groveton High School [Rayfield Barber].
February 9, 1963, Page 18: Gov’t Trying To Settle Ft. Belvoir School Row. Fairfax County, the latest developments indicate, has apparently been successful in getting the government to do things its way in the Fort Belvoir school row. The government wants the Virginia county to allow colored high school dependents of Fort Belvoir personnel to attend classes at schools nearest to the base. Fairfax County, however, wants the students assigned to Luther Jackson High School 12 miles away, but gives the pupils the option to transfer to predominantly white schools near the base. “Our concern,” said James M. Quigley, assistant Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare,” is that the children are not assigned on the basis of race. The ultimate rather than initial assignment is important.” Mr. Quigley noted that “we may have gone around the barn only to arrive back where we started.” While no decision has been made, he admitted it is “most likely” HEW will accept the county assignment plan. The government had threatened to build a new high school at Fort Belvoir for some 450 high school students, about 30 of them colored. The post already has an integrated elementary school.
The Chicago Defender (Daily and National Editions)
October 29, 1949, Page 12: Says Talk Won’t Beat School Bias. Washington – The District Board of Education is powerless to end school segregation because of an act of Congress, Dr. Phillip Johnson declared this week. Dr. Johnson is one of the two Negro members of the board. …An “inter-cultural education” program in District schools to teach Negro and white children about each other was urged by another speaker, Dr. E. B. Henderson, director of health and education for Negro schools.
April 18, 1953, Page 6: Hint Plots To Balk School Integration. The Fairfax County School Board would probably cancel its agreement with Fort Belvoir and withdraw its teachers from there if segregation in the post schools is ended in line with White House policy to end segregation in all schools operated on Army posts with federal funds. Robert Walker, Fairfax school official, said last week the county school board would have no other choice if school segregation is abolished at Fort Belvoir. “Under Virginia law we could not supply teachers for non-segregated schools,” Walker said. The Fairfax County School Board operates segregated schools for 700 white students and 52 colored students, all children who reside at Fort Belvoir. The colored school is in a remodeled barracks. “It’s a terrible school,” said Mr. Walker. Both buildings belong to the Army.
April 23, 1957, Page 17: Mother Balks At Integration Block. A Virginia white mother is making history in Fairfax County because she refuses to sign the new pupil placement applications set up by the state to circumvent integration in public schools. Two of the children of Mrs. Teho T. DeFebio have been dropped from school because of her stand… The family recently moved to Wellington on the Potomac from North Carolina… The De Febios made new in North Carolina too when they refused to send their children to segregated schools and authorities took them away from the parents for three years. Mrs. De Febio declared her refusal to sign the pupil placement slips was a matter of conscience and principle. “You can bury your conscience so deep sometimes, you can never find it,” she said. Her action leaves the state authorities in a quandary as to what the penalties can be in cases of refusal to sign. The School Board said that a number of other forms had not yet been turned over; but it is not known whether these parents will refuse to sign them or not. The School Board has turned the matter of Mrs. De Febio’s objection over to the State Pupil Placement Board and Attorney General Lindsay Almond.
Learn more about the De Febio lawsuit.
May 18, 1957, Page 11: Progress Report: Desegregation. Southern Schools News reported there that 685 school districts in nine states had begun or completed the desegregation process on the eve of the third anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decision against public school segregation. Virginia – A first challenge of the state’s new pupil placement law arose in Fairfax County. Republican and Democratic political figures who may oppose one another for governor debated the segregation-desegregation issue.
May 9, 1959, Page 1: Va. Suburb Target Of Desegregation. Another Virginia suburb across the Potomac River from Washington was made the target recently of a new drive for school desegregation. Attorney Otto L. Tucker of Alexandria, Virginia, said as many as 30 Negro students would seek to enroll in white schools in Fairfax County next September for the first time. It posed the possibility of new court action toward desegregation in Virginia where the legislature last week completed a new local-option type “freedom of choice” program to deal with school integration.
May 9, 1959, Page 12: New VA County in School Test. Three Negroes seek admission to elementary schools in Fairfax County and Arlington next September, posing the first integration test for Fairfax County. Two Negro children asked for assignments to the first grade in a white elementary school in Fairfax County during conferences preparatory to registration for classes next falls. County School Superintendent W. T. Woodson declined to identify the school or the applicants. It marked the first time Negroes have sought to enroll in the schools in Fairfax.
August 6, 1959, Page 9: Denies Applications To Va. White Schools. Virginia’s state pupil placement board rejected or deferred action Monday on a long list of applications by Negro students for transfer to white schools this fall… Virginia’s three-man state placement board deferred action on 21 other Negro applications submitted by the Norfolk board, denied 13 applications from Floyd county and denied or deferred applications from Negro students seeking admission to white schools in Charlottesville, Fairfax County, Staunton, and Lynchburg.
August 28, 1962, Page 7: Integrate 52 More Va. Schools. Richmond, Va. – Another 52 schools in nine Virginia localities will become integrated when school reopens next month. Approximately 1,117 Negro children will enter a total of 127 schools which once were all-white. This brings the total integrated school divisions to 29… Fairfax leads the drive toward integration, with 214 Negro pupils in 34 formerly white schools.
The Fairfax Herald
August 21, 1959: School Board Integration Plan Arouses Controversy. Members of the Board of Supervisors and others have expressed criticism of the School Board’s recently announced plan for gradual desegregation of the county schools. The school board’s plan would begin with integration of the first grade, and would continue one grade each year for 12 years. The school board’s idea was to obey the State laws upon the subject as far as possible, and to attempt to prevent criticism in the General Assembly. Hence, all applications will be handled by the State Placement Board, until next March, when local jurisdictions are given the authority to assign pupils to the schools. The school board does not plan to assign any white children to colored schools. The Board’s plan has been criticized by several members of the Board of Supervisors. They contend that the school board’s action is premature, and that it should have waited for an enabling ordinance from the Board of Supervisors, which, as stated above, cannot be passed until next March. They also say that the school board’s plan might result in the county losing the benefits of the Perrow Act legislation. Meanwhile the school board is mailing out tuition grant applications to persons who do not desire to send their children to integrated schools. More than 100 requests have been received by the board. Under the tuition grant law, the state pays $250 toward the tuition of any child in any public or private school, provided that the latter is nonsectarian.
January 17, 1969: Search On For New Superintendent. A selection committee of the Fairfax County School Board is facing the task of finding a new superintendent of schools to replace Earl C. Funderburk, who announced last week his intention to resign on June 30. School Board Chairman William S. Hoofnagle said the board will “seek out the best person in this nation that is available” to succeed Mr. Funderburk. On the selection committee are School Board members William R. Perlik, who will be chairman of the group, Mrs. Mary Anne Lecos, Nathaniel J. Orleans, and David J. Pattison. In his speech of resignation, Mr. Funderburk gave no reason for leaving, and made no announcement of his future plans. He said his service in the post since 1961 had been “most rewarding,” but “I must say the road has not been easy. It has been a battle every inch of the way, and sometimes it has been a rather lonely place.” The superintendent recalled “the complete and successful integration of our school system,” improvements in the instructional program, and reduction of class loads, as among the goals achieved during his tenure. Mr. Hoofnagle praised Mr. Funderburk, saying he had “shaped and molded a school system that ranks as one of the best in the nation.” The board chairman recalled in 1962 there was an attempt to give control of school construction to the Supervisors, but Mr. Funderburk “stood like a Rock of Gibraltar or a Jackson at Bull Run with not much help, and he withstood these pressures.”
The Northern Virginia Sun
October 2, 1963: Negro Pupil Aid Urged In Fairfax. The Fairfax County Council on Human Relations plans to request permission of the School Board to conduct its “Higher Horizons” program to soften the transition of Negroes to white schools. At present, the Council conducts the program privately. The proposal will be made at the School Board meeting of October 24 at 8:15 p.m. It is the first item on the agenda. A combination of “foundation funds” and public money would be used for the program if the public schools take it over under the Council’s proposals, Mrs. Nicholas Gregory, publicity chairman, stated. The “Higher Horizons” program helps “place Negro transfers to white schools on a more equal basis…” according to a Council release. However, white children who find themselves behind scholastically after transferring could use the program also, Mrs. Gregory said. A year ago, more than 50 volunteers assisted about 100 children, using church facilities and private homes, the Council said.
March 5, 1964: Integration Suit Denied For Fairfax. An integration suit against the Fairfax County School Board was dismissed for the second time Wednesday by Federal Judge Oren R. Lewis in Alexandria. The suit, which charged the School Board with discrimination in the assignment of pupils to schools in Fairfax County, was brought by Glenda Blakeney. It was first dismissed Nov. 1, 1960. THE PRESENT case was again opened Sept. 12, 1963. In giving his decision, Judge Lewis referred to the Brown case, which was of a similar nature. In his written opinion on the case, the judge traced the history of desegregation in Fairfax County. After the Supreme Court decision on desegregation in Fairfax County. After the Supreme Court decision on desegregation, the Pupil Placement Board was established in Richmond to place students in various schools. This existed until 1962 when authority for placement was returned to local school boards. Under the present setup in Fairfax County, any student is placed in the appropriate school nearest his residence. The only exceptions to this rule are special students such as technical school students and retarded children who require special schools. Any person white or colored, may also apply to attend a school not nearest his residence. These cases are referred to the School Board for decision. Judge Lewis stated that he found “no evidence of gerrymandering” in setting up the residence lines which decide which school a student shall attend. AT PRESENT, there are 2,101 Negroes attending all Negro schools. However, Judge Lewis pointed out that this was the case “solely on account of their place of residence or by their own choice.” All of the plaintiffs bringing the suit are now attending integrated schools nearest their homes and were doing so before the hearing. Judge Lewis concluded his opinion by stating, “Upon the record thus made, the Court concludes that Fairfax County is not maintaining a dual or segregated school system. “The Court further concludes that all eligible students seeking admission to Fairfax County public schools initially or via transfer are being admitted on a racially non-discriminatory basis. Therefore, the prayer for further, interlocutory and permanent injunctive relief will be denied.” He concluded his opinion by stating that neither could he find any evidence of discrimination in the hiring of teachers and principals in Fairfax County.
March 6, 1964: Fairfax County Eyes Court’s School Ruling. The Fairfax County School Board Thursday asked its attorney to study and interpret the Alexandria Federal Court ruling which upheld the county’s present system of educating Negro and white children. Board Chairman William F. Hoofnagle said Atty. James Keith will submit a recommended action to the school board and a position statement will be made available next week. THE DECISION by Judge Oren R. Lewis concluded that Fairfax County is not maintaining a dual school system as alleged, but directed the board to apply placement and transfer regulations to all students alike.
March 10, 1964: NAACP Appeals Fairfax Ruling. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) has noted an appeal of a recent federal court decision which upheld the Fairfax County Schools in a desegregation matter. Federal District Judge Oren R. Lewis last week upheld desegregation procedures in the schools. Judge Lewis, in a written opinion, said that the Fairfax County Schools were not being discriminatory despite the existence of seven schools for Negroes. The NAACP attorneys have asked the court to restrain any further assignments to all-Negro schools and make the school board present a plan for total desegregation.
March 14, 1964: NAACP Seeks Desegregation Plan. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has noted an appeal of a recent federal court decision which upheld the Fairfax County Schools in a desegregation matter. Federal District Judge Oren R. Lewis last week upheld desegregation procedures in the schools. Judge Lewis, in a written opinion, said that the Fairfax County schools were not being discriminatory despite the existence of several schools for Negroes. The NAACP attorneys have asked the court to restrain any further assignments to all-Negro schools and make the School Board present a plan for total desegregation.
April 9, 1965: School Integration U.S. Aid Likely. The County school system received approval late Thursday of $53,500 in federal funds for an in-service personnel training program that will facilitate orderly desegregation of schools. It was noted at Thursday night’s school board meeting that schools may be allotted an additional $265,000 for more anti-poverty education programs if a bill now on President Johnson’s desk is signed into law. Board member John Goldsmith said “we may have assistance available for more programs as early as this summer, or at least by next fall if the program is approved by Congress. He pointed out that the bill provided for expansion of educational programs that would lend themselves to aid for deprived children. The county school system is also awaiting approval of three other grants for a summer pre-school, a neighborhood youth corps and a vocational education program. The In-Service training program is in its early planning stages. As now proposed, it provides a three-phase program to equip teachers to handle social and cultural problems involved in the country’s desegregation of five elementary schools and one high school. The program included in the 1964 Civil Rights Act, was approved late Thursday by the U.S. Commissioner of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, Superintendent Earl C. Funderburk said. About 150 professional employees will participate in 10 two-hour seminars in the first phase of the program. The second phase calls for a three-week summer workshop for 20 persons, and the third stage, asks for additional services.
April 20, 1965: U.S. Says Fairfax Will Get School Aid. The U.S. Office of Education has decided that Fairfax County school have complied with the 1964 civil rights act, but apparently has not yet made a decision on Arlington. In a release from the Fairfax school system, School Supt. E. C Funderburk announced Monday that he had received a letter from U.S. Commissioner of Education Francis Keppel certifying the compliance. Funderburk reported that Keppel’s letter said the county would continue to receive federal financial assistance on the basis of the school system’s document titled “Desegregation Plans for Certain Schools.” I have determined,” Keppel said, “that the Fairfax County plan is adequate to accomplish the purposes of the (civil rights) act and the regulation of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare.” …Prior to the notice that Fairfax’s statement was adequate, only three districts in Virginia were certified as eligible to receive federal aid this year. They are Chesapeake, Colonial Heights and Virginia Beach. The federal government is requiring school districts throughout the nation to submit evidence of full desegregation or plans aimed at reaching such status.
The Washington Evening/Sunday Star
September 1, 1954, Page B-9: 29,000 Pupils Return To Fairfax Classes, First in District Area. Fairfax County public schools became the first in the Washington area to resume classes after the summer vacation. Nearly 29,000 pupils attended half-day sessions this morning but will take up a full schedule the rest of the week. The Labor Day holiday will be observed Monday. It mentions the new Annandale High School opening today and overcrowding at Fairfax High School and Mount Vernon High School. Superintendent Woodson said it would be a week before the cafeteria at Annandale would be ready and students would bring their lunches in the meantime. It will be somewhat longer before the gymnasium is ready. – Await Segregation Policy - There will be no change in the policy in Fairfax County of segregating Negro and white children until the Supreme Court hands down its final decree on the matter and the State Department of Education formulates a plan of procedure. For the first time, Negro high school children will be taught in the county at the new Luther Jackson High School in Merrifield, which opened today. Heretofore, Fairfax had joined other nearby jurisdictions in supporting a regional high school for Negroes at Manassas. – Fort Belvoir School Dropped – Also for the first time, operation of the Fort Belvoir Elementary School has been abandoned by Fairfax County because of the Federal Government’s policy of integrating Negro and white children in classes held on military reservations. – Cites Snow Shutdowns – Fairfax schools opened ahead of the rest of the area so that classes would not run too late into June next year.
May 20, 1957, Page B-2: Fairfax Supervisor Hits State Law on Schools. Virginia's legislation to preserve segregated schools was termed "ill-advised and illogical" yesterday by Mrs. Anne Wilkins, member of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Speaking at the dedication of the new Lillian Carey Elementary School for Negroes at Bailey's Cross Roads, she said the county was caught in a conflict between Federal law and State law, which permits the Governor to close any schools where integration occurs and to withhold State funds from integrated school systems. Fairfax County, said Mrs. Wilkins, could solve its own problems "with little dislocation or disturbance, although we have our share of rabble rousers." She said the "difficult situation" which existed in the State involved not only legal problems, but problems of a social, moral, and "unfortunately emotional" nature. After criticizing the State legislation, Mrs. Wilkins acknowledged that "nevertheless, it is still the State law." She said she hoped "we can weather the storm with no damage to our school system." Mrs. Wilkins represents Mason District, in which the new Lillian Carey School is situated. Robert F. Davis, who is the school board representative for that district, welcomed the residents to the dedication.
August 31, 1960, Page B-3: 100,000 Start School In Virginia Tomorrow. Fairfax County will open five of its new intermediate schools tomorrow, the other four on Tuesday. The intermediate school program – which includes the seventh and eighth grades – is being introduced this year. Two of the county’s formerly all-white elementary schools will be desegregated for the first time this year. One Negro second grader will enter the Cedar Lane Elementary School and a first and second grader will be admitted to the Belvedere School.
September 1, 1960, Page B-1: Starts In Kindergarten: Melinda Goes to School. The first fall classes in the Washington area open their doors. In Fairfax, Falls Church, Loudoun and Prince William Counties, children will attend a full day of school. Integration came quietly to Fairfax County Schools as two Negro youngsters entered Belvedere Elementary School and one entered Cedar Lane Elementary. Two additional Negro first graders showed up at Belvedere but were not admitted. Their original applications had not been acted on by the school board or the placement board, because birth certificates were not submitted as required for all first graders. George Pope, assistant school superintendent said he told the parents they could either wait for the placement board action on the applications or the youngsters could be put immediately into a Negro school.
May 21, 1963, Page B-4: Switch in Vote Balks Transfer of 5 Negroes. Transfer appeals for five Negro children were denied by the Fairfax County School Board last night, where Chairman Eugene L. Newman switched from his earlier stand and voted against them. All of the students were seeking transfer to predominantly white schools which are farther from their homes than the Negro schools to which they have been assigned. Even as the board argued over the vote, Mr. Newman said a citizens committee will be appointed “in the immediate future” to work out a new policy on racial integration. “Very shortly it will not be feasible in this county to operate two school systems,” he added. Mr. Newman said he hopes the board will have its new policy by early 1964. His statement did nothing to cool the heated debate on the cases of the five children. Tempers flared during the hour-long discussion that ended in a 4-3 vote against the transfers. The same division held on a motion to reconsider. Last night was the deadline set by State law for board action on placement appeals. Suit in Prospect. The attorney for the parents and a member of the County Human Relations Council warned that a lawsuit will be filed to challenge the decision. Board members said they had no warning Mr. Newman would change his mind. He had favored granting four of the appeals when the board split 3-3 on the applications at a May 8 meeting. The fifth case came up for the first time last night. “I was floored,” said Mrs. Sarah Lahr. Kenneth N. Clark, just back from South America [from an extended business trip] in time to break what everyone thought would be a tie, moved that the transfers be approved. Mrs. Lahr and Mrs. Martha Gertwagen, the vice chairman, sided with him. Mr. Newman joined John D. K. Smoot, William S. Hoofnagle, and Howard E. Futch in opposition. Mr. Newman said he changed his vote because he decided the board would have to work out a broad new policy. On May 8, he said, he was thinking in terms of the individual students. He added that he voted no on the transfers due to the close proximity of the children to the school (where they are assigned, “which is within walking distance” of their homes). School Board attorney James Keith had advised that it would not be discrimination to deny the transfers. Mr. Futch and Mr. Hoofnagle opposed the transfers because providing buses to take the children to school farther from their homes would cost extra money. Mrs. Gertwagen countered by saying that eh county is already spending “thousands” to transport high school students from widely scattered points to all-Negro Luther Jackson High School. She added: “First graders should in all conscience start out in this day and age in a desegregated school system.” Otto L. Tucker, attorney for the parents, said “the chances are the only way for relief will be to seek a court injunction against this discrimination.” All the appeals were for transfers to predominantly white schools. Mr. Tucker said the decision’s effect was “to gerrymander Negro children into Negro schools… these boundaries were set up for the purpose of creating a dual school system, and it stays that way.” Mr. Futch agreed with Mr. Newman that “sooner or later, one of these days, we’re going to get away from these two systems.” Names Sought. This year, 340 of the county’s 2,240 Negro public school students attended integrated classes. Fairfax County first began desegregation in the fall of 1960. Involved in the transfer appeals denied last night were: Two brothers, whose parents sought their transfer to Pine Springs Elementary from James Lee Elementary; two sixth-grade girls from different families, whose parents wanted them to attend Stratford Landing Elementary, rather than all-Negro Drew Smith Elementary, where they have been assigned. Also, a Herndon boy who will enter the first grade next September at all-Negro Oak Grove Elementary. His parents wanted him admitted to Herndon Elementary. In other action, the board refused a parent’s request that 114 children in Riverside Estates and the Hollindale subdivision be transferred from Mount Vernon High School to the new Fort Hunt High School. The vote was unanimous.
June 28, 1963, Page B-1: Fairfax Changes Policy, Grants Negro Transfers. The Fairfax County School Board has reversed a decision of last May and plans to admit 5 Negro students to integrated schools further from their homes than the all-colored schools they had been assigned to. Fairfax County School Board members voted for the switch at a secret meeting Monday night, the same day they learned that a Negro attorney had filed suit seeking to force complete integration of the county’s schools. The suit was filed in Federal Court, Alexandria, by Otto L. Tucker, attorney for the NAACP. It also seeks an injunction to stop the assignment of Negroes to all-Negro schools. Several straw votes in March and early April showed that the board was tied 3-3 on the transfer requests. The 7th member, Kenneth N. Clark, returned from an extended business trip to South America just in time to take part in a full-board vote before the May 21 deadline set by State law. The outcome surprised everyone when Chairman Eugene L. Newman switched his vote, making it a 4-3 decision to deny the transfers. At that time Newman suggested a citizens’ committee be formed to study the broader problem of eliminating the county’s dual school system. The Negro children seek admission to the Pine Spring, Stratford Landing, and Herndon elementary schools.
September 1, 1963, Page B-1: Fairfax Desegregation Plan to Be Proposed. School Board member Martha Gertwagen was to present a plan to the School Board for total desegregation of the public schools within three years. Her proposal included provisions for staff as well as pupil integration and called for the elimination of Luther Jackson High School as an all-African-American school.
September 22, 1963, Page E-2: All-Negro School Below Capacity - Luther Jackson High Points Up Fairfax Dilemma. Article about the future of Luther Jackson High School and desegregation in Fairfax County. As of last Thursday, there were 102 and 126 Negro children attending integrated intermediate and high schools, respectively, elsewhere in the county. Luther Jackson High School was well below capacity (705 of 950). It is this below-capacity enrollment which draws immediate comment from those who know conditions existing in relatively close, predominantly white high schools. They point to Annandale High School with an enrollment of 1,936 in a building constructed for 1,525; to Falls Church High School, two students under its 1,400 capacity, J.E.B. Stuart High School, 1,864 students enrolled, capacity 1,400; W. T. Woodson High School, 2,818 crowded inside its walls designed to hold 2,400. Thomas Jefferson High School, now under construction expected to relieve some of the overcrowding at Annandale, Woodson, and Stuart. Fairfax County’s 8 percent Negro population is in widely scattered communities, and most of the six elementary schools were designed to serve those nearby neighborhoods such as Drew-Smith for Gum Springs, and Lillian Carey for the Baileys Crossroads area. A fleet of 15 buses bring all but 24 students to Luther Jackson High School. It goes on… “Fairfax County has an enviable record to maintain in terms of peaceful desegregation.”
April 10, 1964, Page B-3: Fairfax Closing School as Desegregation Step. Fairfax County will close one of its six Negro elementary schools and begin phasing out Luther Jackson Intermediate-High School as an all-Negro facility this fall as the first steps toward total desegregation of its education system. These moves “toward the goal of establishing school attendance areas strictly on a geographic basis” were approved unanimously by county school board members with few comments last night. The decision was the product of several informal meetings at which the board acted as a “committee of the whole” to study the entire desegregation problem, Chairman William S. Hoofnagle explained. Luther Jackson’s seventh grade will be eliminated this fall and all pupils will be assigned to intermediate schools in the attendance areas in which they live. Associate Superintendent George H. Pope estimated this will affect about 155 students.
In 1965-6 Luther Jackson will open without an eighth grade making it completely a high school on the county’s 6-2-4 system. Since the student body will number only about 350 then, the board at that time may decide not to continue operation of the school. Located at Merrifield, Luther Jackson draws its students from the entire 405-square-mile county, with most pupils being transported by bus over long distances. Continued operation of Luther Jackson as an all-Negro school is “impractical,” the board said, but any suggestion that it be removed from the public school system is “unwise and unjustifiable” because of the great need for facilities. It will continue as a regular secondary school enrolling pupils without regard to race, the board stated. “Limited phasing out” was judged the best to “avoid abruptness in procedure” and to keep from disrupting the education of those now attending the school, the board’s statement said.
Mr. Pope said nine teachers will be affected. There are about 80 Negro teachers in the system. Until last night Fairfax operated on a “limited integration” policy based on pupil transfer applications under which routine administrative approval was given Negroes asking to attend desegregated schools closer to their homes than Negro schools. Special board action was required for Negro applicants wanting to attend desegregated schools farther away. Almost 430 of the county’s 2,529 Negro students were enrolled last fall in a total of 44 formerly all-white schools under this policy.
November 12, 1964, Page B-1: Fairfax Discontinuing All-Negro High School. Plans to eliminate Luther Jackson High School as an all-Negro facility and turn it into an integrated intermediate school next September will be announced at tonight’s Fairfax County School Board meeting. Just yesterday, Alexandria decided to discontinue use of its all-Negro Parker Gray as a high school next September. Parker-Gray then will be used as an intermediate school. The Luther-Jackson change is expected to relieve overcrowding at Frost and Thoreau intermediate schools and eliminate the necessity of building a proposed Pine Ridge Intermediate west of Annandale. Under the new plan, seventh and eighth graders living in the Luther Jackson attendance area in the Merrifield vicinity would be assigned to the school without regard to race. About 300 ninth, tenth and eleventh graders now attending the county’s only all-Negro high school would be dispersed among 16 other Fairfax secondary facilities. Most of these students, who live in widely separated areas of the 405-square-mile county, are being bused to the school on Gallows Road between Routes 50 and 29-211. A school spokesman said the plan will require “some relocation” of the Luther Jackson faculty and staff. However, a policy of hiring and assigning teachers on a non-racial basis was adopted by the board last December. Describing Luther Jackson as a modern adequate building, the board is expected to point out that the school’s capacity of 1,000 students is the maximum permitted for the county intermediate schools and “it will not require any additional construction” to be put to this use. The Pine Ridge Intermediate site will be held for a future high school. Last summer, the U.S. 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ordered the board to discontinue its “dual school system,” overruling a federal district judge who said he could find no evidence of such a system because of the county’s policy of transferring Negro students at their parents’ request to predominantly white schools.
December 11, 1964, Page B-3: Citizens Back Plan to Close Fairfax Negro High School. A proposal to close Fairfax County’s only Negro high school in June and reopen it in September as an integrated facility for seventh and eighth graders won unanimous support from citizens at a county school board hearing last night. Commendations and “solid support” for the plan were voiced by spokesman for the League of Women Voters, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the County Federation of Citizens Associations, the County Council on Human Relations, and the Holmes Run Acres Civic Association. Last Nov. 12, the board announced a plan to make Luther Jackson High School at Merrifield into an intermediate school serving in the immediate attendance district… The board said it had decided it was not practical to enlarge Luther Jackson to handle 2,000 pupils as a high school, but that the plant would not require any alterations for conversion to an intermediate school with 1,000 to 1,200 students. Louis Boone, president of the NAACP’s Fairfax County chapter, commended the board for its proposal, saying it would bring about “fuller compliance” with the 1964 Civil Rights Act. “Our branch is pleased…that the board has moved ahead without being required by court decisions or activist demonstrations,” Boone added. After endorsing the Luther Jackson plan, Mrs. Raymond Lahr, president of the voters league, noted that some members of her group had urged that “the total phasing out of the vestiges of a dual school system should be expedited in every way possible.” Fairfax closed one of its all-Negro elementary schools this year, leaving five. The board has said it is working on a plan for total desegregation.
January 29, 1965, Page C-3: Fairfax Plan Would Complete County’s School Integration. The last vestiges of a racially segregated school system in Fairfax County would be wiped out over the next two years under a plan proposed last night by the Fairfax County School Board. Although Fairfax has been moving gradually toward full integration for several years, the new proposal is aimed at complying with last summer’s federal court order that the “dual school system” end. Two of the county’s five current all-Negro elementary schools, Lillian Carey and Drew-Smith, would become special education centers for retarded and handicapped children next September. A third, Louise Archer, would become an integrated elementary facility next year. One of the remaining Negro schools, Eleven Oaks, would be merged with a nearby predominantly white facility in Sept. 1966. James Lee would be phased out and the building would be used for an undetermined purpose. The proposal would put 1,695 of the county’s 2,480 Negro students in predominantly white schools for the first time. Some 785 Negro children are now attending integrated schools, many of them assigned there under the board’s former policy of permitting requested transfers to predominantly white schools when they are closer to the applicants’ homes than all-Negro facilities. In the future, all students will be assigned to schools according to the attendance areas in which they live. Most of the all-Negro schools are located in and serve predominantly Negro communities. This will force the Board to divert the buildings to other educational uses in order to comply with the court’s order. 147 Lillian Carey students would be sent to Parklawn, Lincolnia, Bailey’s and Glen Forest. Lillian Carey will house 75 of the 120 moderately retarded children now enrolled in a training center at Lincolnia School plus 33 students on the center’s waiting list. 251 Drew-Smith students would be sent to Hollin Hall, Gunston, Bucknell, Hollin Meadows, Hybla Valley and Mount Vernon Woods schools. It would become a training center for the other 45 moderately retarded pupils now at Lincolnia. The county health dept. wants to start a 35-student center for severely retarded children at Drew-Smith. Some students who formerly attended Flint Hill Elementary School and Vienna Elementary School would attend Louise Archer. 232 students currently assigned there would go to Great Falls, Herndon, Dunn Loring, Franklin Sherman, and Spring Hill elementary schools. 1st graders at Eleven Oaks would go to Clifton, Fairview, Centreville, Lorton, Burke, and Westmore schools. The remaining students would be assigned to schools in their attendance areas starting in 1966-67. Eleven Oaks would merge with Green Acres Elementary School. Pupils in the county’s culturally disadvantaged program would attend Eleven Oaks next year. Students within the one-mile walking distance to James Lee would still attend there the coming session. The school currently has 268 pupils. Those outside that radius would go to Fairhill, Stenwood, Woodburn, and Pine Spring schools. James Lee would end as an all-Negro school in 1966-67.
March 20, 1965, Page A-22: Negro Ratio In Fairfax School Cut. The Fairfax County School Board has cut the proportion of Negro students who will attend Louise Archer Elementary School this fall following protests from white parents. The board revealed yesterday that the proposed boundaries of the formerly all-Negro school’s attendance area have been changed to reduce the number of Negro children from one in three to one in five. At a December 16 hearing white parents had complained that too many Negroes were being assigned to Archer in comparison with other desegregation county schools. At 20 percent, the proportion of Negroes will still be among the highest in the county’s system. The Negro children to be shifted under the change announced yesterday will go to the Flint Hill and Marshall Road elementary schools. Archer is one of three all-Negro elementary schools to be desegregated this fall. The other two, Drew Smith and Lillian Carey, are to used for county-wide special programs. The last two all-Negro schools will be integrated in 1966 the board said. Other schools whose proposed boundaries were changed yesterday include Stratford Landing and Fairhill elementary schools, Herndon High School and Luther Jackson Intermediate School.
April 23, 1965, Page B-2: Fairfax School Construction Faces Delay, Board Is Told. Some 15 new schools and additions, valued at $17 million, are under way in Fairfax now. Most are being pushed for opening this September. A labor shortage may affect three jobs on which contracts were to be awarded soon: West Springfield High School, Herndon High School, and Jefferson Intermediate (Holmes). The Sherman Construction Company was awarded the contract for an addition at Madison High School, but they were already 8 months behind schedule building West Springfield Elementary School. The Board assigned permanent names to a new Vienna area elementary school and the all-Negro Luther Jackson High School scheduled to become a desegregated intermediate facility this fall. At a recent meeting, the board tentatively agreed to name the new elementary school Moss Crest and rename Luther Jackson to Carl Sandburg, but a group of Negro community leaders asked the board to consider keeping the Luther Jackson name or to assign the name of a Negro poet.
The Washington Post
May 21, 1954, Page 1: Still ‘Part of Virginia’ - Fairfax Continues Plans for Separate Schools. The Fairfax County School Board was going ahead with plans for separate housing of white and African-American students for the 1954-55 school year despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision banning school segregation. “We are still a part of the state of Virginia,’ declared Superintendent of Schools W. T. Woodson, ‘and cannot act as a separate subdivision like the District of Columbia. We’ll plan for next year on the same basis as we have in the past.’ School Board member Fred Robinson said, ‘We’re working just as we always have – there will be no change until we hear from the State Department of Education.’”
June 19, 1954, Page 21: Army Posts To Integrate Own Schools. Because of a U.S. Department of Defense order, which predated the U.S. Supreme Court’s ban on school segregation, Fort Belvoir would operate its own integrated grade school beginning in September 1954. The Fairfax County School Board announced in February 1954, that it would no longer operate the school on post. "Expected enrollment at the Fort Belvoir School is 800 white pupils and 60 Negro pupils."
July 21, 1955, Page 18: Integration Unit Set Up In Fairfax. The Fairfax County Colored Citizens Association set up a committee to ascertain the School Board’s plans, if any, concerning the integration of Fairfax County Public Schools.
September 4, 1955, Page A-17: Fairfax Due for Record Sign-Up. The article describes the challenges FCPS was facing due to record enrollment growth, and lists several school construction projects. “No schools in the county will be integrated this year; however, school officials are eliminating racial designations from an integrated roster of county schools. The schools had previously been listed separately.”
September 21, 1955, Page 26: School Race Study Group Is Renamed. The article describes how the Fairfax County School Board bowed to the demand of a citizens’ group and renamed the recently established bi-racial “Desegregation Committee” to the “Committee on Segregation.” The citizens’ group believed the School Board was planning to take action to integrate the public schools. “We meant to imply no such thing,” said Robert F. Davis, board chairman. He added, “We want to equip ourselves with facts so that we can intelligently fight desegregation if we have to.”
May 9, 1957, Page A-1: If Arlington Integrates, State May Shut Schools: Local Authorities Expected to Resist With ‘Persuasion’ All Racial Mixing. Virginia Governor Thomas B. Stanley said his administration was willing to close public schools in Arlington County and Charlottesville to prevent integration. The General Assembly enacted legislation empowering the governor to take control of any integrated school, close it down, and reorganize it on a segregated basis.
September 4, 1958, Page B-2: Schools Open In 2 Suburbs. “Fairfax's only brush with Virginia segregation troubles ended yesterday when a white student, Nicky De Fabio, appeared for classes at Hollin Hall Elementary School. His mother, Mrs. Theo De Fabio, last year refused to sign a State pupil placement application, and sued to invalidate the placement law. The suit was unsuccessful.”
November 28, 1958, Page A-12: P-TA Asks School Pay Despite Closings Threat. A resolution urging the Fairfax County School Board to assure teachers that they would be paid even if schools were closed because of desegregation was passed unanimously by the County Federation of Parent-Teacher Associations.
January 11, 1959, Page A-10: Fairfax Unit Pushes Plan On Schools. The Fairfax County School Board was under increasing pressure to take some sort of action on school desegregation. The Federation of Citizens Associations was circulating a draft resolution calling for the adoption of a program of gradual school desegregation.
February 2, 1959, Page 1: Virginia Desegregates Today. Arlington And Norfolk Are First. “Virginia’s era of ‘massive resistance’ to public school desegregation will end today when four Negro students enter Stratford Junior High School in Arlington and 17 Negroes are enrolled in six Norfolk secondary schools.” The article goes on to state that no African-American children had yet applied for transfer to white schools in Fairfax County and the School Board had yet to announce any desegregation plan.
February 26, 1959, Page B-1: Fairfax Unit Favors Desegregation Plan. Fairfax County’s Federation of Citizens Associations adopted a resolution requesting the formulation of a plan for the gradual desegregation of the public schools. “A planned program of gradual desegregation is better than spot desegregation ordered by the courts.” The group asked the School Board to adopt a plan before any court action was brought against Fairfax County Public Schools. The proposal suggested that desegregation might begin at a definite date in the first grade and proceed to the upper classes “at the rate of one grade a year. It should include a training program for teachers and administrators for dealing with the problems of desegregation and the adjustments of any existing differences in the standards of white and Negro schools.”
May 1, 1959, Page D-3: 4 Negroes Ask Entry in Area Schools. “Attorneys announced that a total of 28 Negroes would apply to enter schools for white pupils in Fairfax County.” The applicants had requested admission to Belvedere Elementary School, Devonshire Elementary School, Flint Hill Elementary School, Hollin Hall Elementary School, Parklawn Intermediate School, Annandale High School, and Madison High School.
July 12, 1959, Page A-8: Negro Transfer Pleas Sent to State Pupil Board. The Fairfax County School Board decided to send 23 applications of African-American students to schools for white children to the State Pupil Placement Board without recommending where the students should be assigned. The Placement Board typically rejected such applications. If the applications were rejected, the School Board faced the possibility of a Federal court suit.
August 9, 1959, Page A-1: Plan for Desegregation Adopted By Fairfax County School Board. The Fairfax County School Board adopted a desegregation plan. The details of the plan were not disclosed, but it was said that the plan would become effective next March.
August 11, 1959, Page A-10: Negro Pupils’ Lawyers Ask Fairfax School Plan Facts. Attorneys for students seeking admission to white schools in Fairfax County wanted to know more about the School Board’s desegregation plan, but the Board refused to give details. “As long as they don’t announce the plan,” said attorney Frank D. Reeves, “It can have no effect on our thinking. It could mean ‘We will not admit Negroes until 1980.’” The School Board said the plan would take effect next March when the School Board was once again legally vested with pupil placement authority from the State.
August 13, 1959, Page B-10: Fairfax Heads Question School Board’s Secrecy. The School Board’s desegregation plan was still being kept secret, bringing further scrutiny upon the Board by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors.
August 16, 1959, Page A-1: Fairfax County School Board Keeps Its New Desegregation Plan Secret. Some details of the School Board’s desegregation plan emerged, indicating that desegregation would begin in the fall of 1960 in the first grade, and proceed at one grade a year until all 12 grades were included. This led the parents of students seeking admission to the all-white schools to file suit in Federal court for the immediate desegregation of FCPS.
August 18, 1959, Page B-1: Fairfax School Plan Attacked By Republicans: GOP Calls Program Premature, Sees Danger of Assembly Action. "Two incumbent Republican Supervisors and three GOP candidates for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors" issued a statement attacking the School Board for adopting a desegregation plan (calling it premature) and urging that the plan be rescinded.
August 21, 1959, Page A-1: 26 Fairfax Negroes Ask U.S. Court to End School Segregation at Once. The NAACP attorneys for the plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the School Board asked the Court to place the burden of justifying any desegregation delay on FCPS officials. The attorneys for the plaintiffs also recommended that the School Board be allowed to present only administrative reasons in arguing for the delay. These would include physical conditions of the schools, personnel, revision of attendance areas, and revision of local laws. The suit was filed by attorneys Frank D. Reeves, Oliver W. Hill, and Otto L. Tucker.
April 7, 1960, Page B-3: 50 Negroes Seek Entry to N. Virginia Schools. The State Pupil Placement Board, established during Virginia's defunct "massive resistance" program, was supposed to yield its functions to a local-option program under a "freedom of choice" program adopted by the Virginia General Assembly. However, the State Board of Education, in effect, extended the Placement Board's powers for another school year when it failed to adopt regulations on how localities would handle their own pupil assignments.
June 21, 1960, Page B-3: Trial Set For Fairfax School Suit. Fairfax County’s school desegregation suit was scheduled to go to trial on September 8, 1960.
July 21, 1960, Page B-1: Schools Would Admit Negroes If So Ordered: Fairfax Board Says It Won’t Oppose a Federal Court Ruling. The Fairfax County School Board said it would not oppose the admission of three African-American children to the all-white Belvedere and Cedar Lane Elementary Schools if it was ordered to do so by the Federal Court in Alexandria. The students involved were Gerald R. Betz (to the first grade at Belvedere), Raynard Wheeler (to the second grade at Belvedere), and Gwendolyn Brooks (to the second grade at Cedar Lane).
July 22, 1960, Page A-8: Three a Year. “The admission of three first and second grade Negro students to previously all-white schools is a pitifully small token for the Fairfax County School Board to offer as its desegregation adjustment….”
July 26, 1960, Page B-2: Fairfax Held Lagging On Integration Plan. The Fairfax County Council on Human Relations stated that the School Board’s desegregation plan “seems to be based on the erroneous assumption that the citizens of Fairfax County are opposed to desegregation of the schools and want their public officials to forestall desegregation as long as possible and by every conceivable legalistic stratagem. This we firmly believe is not true.”
August 5, 1960, Page C-1: State Approves Fairfax’s First Desegregation: Three Negro Students to Enter 2 All-White Elementary Schools. “The Virginia Pupil Placement Board yesterday paved the way for the first desegregation of Fairfax County schools by assigning three Negroes to two all-white elementary schools… Superintendent W. T. Woodson, informed of the decision by a telephone call from Richmond, said he expects no trouble when schools open. He predicted that the limited desegregation would be accepted calmly and repeated the School Board’s stand that pupil assignment powers rest solely with the State Board.”
September 1, 1960, Page B-2: 81,000 Pupils Start Back to Classes in Northern Virginia. “The beginning of school will bring desegregated classes to Fairfax County for the first time when Negro first and second graders enter Belvedere Elementary School and a third enters the second grade at Cedar Lane Elementary School.”
September 2, 1960, Page B-1: 1st Negroes Join Classes In Fairfax. “Three Negro students entered two Fairfax County schools without incident yesterday as the first members of their race to attend desegregated schools in the suburban county. Jerald R. Betz and Raynard Wheeler entered Belvedere Elementary School on Columbia Pike.”
September 13, 1960, Page B-10: Final Debates Heard On Fairfax Schools. Federal Judge Albert V. Bryan heard dramatically opposed views on how fast Fairfax County's public schools should be desegregated. School Board attorneys said faster desegregation would impair the learning process, cause disciplinary problems, result in overcrowding of predominantly white schools, and create difficulties in placing Negro teachers within the system. Superintendent W. T. Woodson testified that total desegregation would cause a “major disruption” of the school system. The attorney for the plaintiffs argued that the real obstacle to total desegregation was the “lack of determination, interest, or will on the part of the School Board to perform its duty.”
September 23, 1960, Page A-1: Grade-a-Year Plan of Desegregation In Fairfax Is Rejected By U.S. Judge. Judge Albert V. Bryan ruled that 19 African-American children must be admitted to white and predominantly white Fairfax County public schools. Rejecting the School Board’s pleas for a gradual transition, the Judge said conditions in Fairfax County did not justify so long a delay in dropping racial bars. Six formerly white schools were desegregated by the order: Groveton High School, Bryant Intermediate School, Lanier Intermediate School, Parklawn Intermediate School, Hollin Hall Elementary School, and Devonshire Elementary School. Seven other children in the suit were not admitted by Judge Albert V. Bryan. The rejections were upheld as not being on the basis of race.
September 29, 1960, Page B-1: 17 Negroes Enter Fairfax Schools. “Seventeen Negroes were enrolled yesterday in white or predominantly white Fairfax County schools and two more are to be admitted later this week. They won admission to the schools when Federal Judge Albert V. Bryan last week struck down the County’s grade-a-year desegregation plan.”
October 12, 1960, Page B-8: 3 Negroes Enrolled in Fairfax. Pupil assignment transfers were recorded. African-American students Phyllis Blackwell and Preston Blackwell transferred from Luther Jackson High School to Madison High School. Barbara Ann Jackson transferred from Luther Jackson to Bryant Intermediate School. “They will bring to 27 the total number of Negro children entering white schools since the County began desegregation under court order and State Pupil Placement Board assignments in September.”
November 18, 1960, Page A-20: Segregated Athletics. “A narrow majority of the Fairfax County School Board (voted 4-3), apparently reasoning that it is all right to affront the Constitution until you get caught, has approved a policy that bars Negroes in desegregated schools from participation in interscholastic athletics. The plan as proposed by Superintendent Woodson is absurd on its face.” Superintendent Woodson’s justification for segregated athletics was that teams from Fairfax County competed against teams from other counties that did not have integrated schools.
December 29, 1960, Page A-6: School Paper Asks Racial Harmony. “Fair Facts, the student newspaper of Fairfax High School, devoted most of its latest edition’s editorial page to stumping for a smooth approach to integration in the County schools.” The editorial stated that Fairfax High School students “have the maturity and moral character to avoid a ‘Little Rock,’ or ‘Norfolk,’ or ‘New Orleans.’”
January 8, 1961, Page B-9: Fairfax County Students Protest Interracial Sports Ban. More than 600 Fairfax County high school students signed petitions protesting the School Board's decision to ban racially integrated athletics. The student petitions, distributed in four county high schools, were to be circulated in other schools over the next two weeks. “Integration in the sports program has caused no disturbance and we feel that the ruling tends to aggravate a previously untroubled situation.” The Virginia High School League had no written policy preventing interracial sports. However, some supporters of the ban argued that integrated teams would face the threat of cancellations when they scheduled games outside of Northern Virginia. The Virginia Senate and House passed a joint resolution declaring that integrated games conflicted with the state’s public policy.
October 29, 1962, Page B-7: Segregation Battle Looms in Fairfax. “The County at present has 100 white or desegregated schools attended by 70,058 children, including 214 Negroes, and seven Negro schools with 2,206 pupils. The Hollin Hills PTA executive committee… said the practice of automatically assigning Negros to Negro schools and requiring them to apply for transfer to white schools is unconstitutional in that it places a burden on Negro youngsters not similarly faced by white children. The School Board lately has granted virtually all applications for transfer. With the County struggling to provide space for its booming school enrollment, and another huge bond issue in the offing, the seven Negro schools are operating at almost 20 percent below capacity, according to figures supplied by the school staff.”
December 13, 1962, Page B-3: Negro Girl Is Assigned to White School in Fairfax. Mitzy Blackwell, a seven-year-old African-American student was admitted to the previously all-white Lemon Road Elementary School. The Board’s action in assigning Mitzy Blackwell to Lemon Road brought the total of desegregated Fairfax County public schools to 33, while 71 remain segregated.
April 12, 1963, Page B-1: 218 Fairfax Negroes Now in White Schools. The Fairfax County School Board approved more than 90 percent of the desegregation transfer applications submitted for the next school year. “The 1963 list is larger than any other approved since the county schools began desegregation in 1959.”
April 14, 1963, Page B-8: School Integration Will Be Considered By Fairfax Board. Several School Board members indicated that they intended to ask FCPS Superintendent Funderburk for a definitive study of steps that must be taken to implement total desegregation. Board members had stated that total desegregation probably would be approached gradually, “perhaps beginning with the lower grades or starting in areas where residential patterns and community attitudes indicated readiness.” School Board vice chairman Martha Gertwagen said she wanted a thorough study of the possible impact on pupils, on how teacher and administrative staff desegregation would be handled, and of the potential uses of FCPS’ seven all-African-American schools. “Many sensitive problems will have to be resolved, such as the opposition of some areas to integration, the reluctance of some Negro parents to an abrupt transfer from a segregated to desegregated school, and the likelihood of predominantly or exclusively Negro schools in some areas because of residential segregation. ‘The over-all question of timing will be most important,’ Mrs. Gertwagen said.” At the time of the writing of the article, 218 African-American children were attending formerly all-white schools, and the School Board had approved the transfer of another 150 children for the coming school year. African-American children comprised approximately three percent of the total public school enrollment.
June 14, 1963, Page A-9: Suit Is Aimed At Fairfax’s Dual Schools. NAACP attorney Otto Tucker asked the Federal District Court in Alexandria to order total desegregation of Fairfax County Public Schools. The suit sought an injunction barring the School Board from “assigning Negro pupils to all-Negro schools. Under present local assignment regulations, Fairfax initially puts Negroes in Negro schools but permits them to transfer to desegregated schools if these schools are closer to their homes.” Mr. Tucker asked for the immediate transfer of five children to Stratford Landing, Pine Spring, and Herndon elementary schools.
June 28, 1963, Page C-1: Fairfax Board Allows Negro Pupil Transfer. The Fairfax County School Board, under pressure from a Federal court suit, agreed to admit to predominantly white schools five pupils whose transfer applications had been previously rejected. “A central question was whether the Board was being discriminatory in allowing a white child living near a Negro school to attend a white school, while refusing to permit a Negro living nearby to do the same. The Board currently has under consideration a proposal to set up a citizens committee to study the eventual abolishment of the county’s dual school system.”
August 16, 1963, Page A-10: NAACP Acts To Win Fees From Board. NAACP attorney Otto L. Tucker filed a motion in Federal District Court requesting that Superintendent Funderburk and all seven members of the Fairfax County School Board be required to personally pay his attorney fees. “The move is seen as an effort to spur the School Board in its often-deferred consideration of steps to eliminate all-Negro schools in the County.”
September 1, 1963, Page B-1: Fairfax Desegregation Plan to Be Proposed. School Board member Martha Gertwagen was to present a plan to the School Board for total desegregation of the public schools within three years. Her proposal included provisions for staff as well as pupil integration and called for the elimination of Luther Jackson High School as an all-African-American school.
September 13, 1963, Page C-2: Fairfax Promises Full Desegregation. In a suit against the School Board in Federal District Court, the Fairfax County School Board stated its goal was “complete desegregation of the school system.” Mr. Tucker, the attorney for the plaintiffs, argued that the Board still followed some discriminatory procedures in the initial assignment of African-American pupils, and housed “all but 428 of its 2,529 Negro pupils in segregated schools.” Mr. Tucker asked the Court to order the School Board to submit a plan and timetable for total desegregation. “While withholding a ruling in the case, Judge Lewis praised the County for making ‘substantial progress’ by eliminating ‘all vestiges of segregation’ except in compact Negro communities.”
September 29, 1963, Page A-8: Fairfax May Pace South’s Effort on Pupil Desegregation: Acts May Show Way. “Moral considerations, buttressed by practical economics, have propelled Fairfax County into a role of potential leadership among Southern border communities wrangling with the final vestiges of school segregation. The County’s public position on school desegregation has come a long way since 1959, when it fought a fore-doomed legal battle to preserve its separate school systems for Negro and white children.” The article goes on to describe how 20 percent of the school system’s African-American children were enrolled in formerly all-white schools. “Enrollment in all-Negro Luther Jackson High School and its six feeder elementary schools is dwindling, leaving empty desks at a time when the County is building about a classroom a day to handle its exploding enrollments in white areas. The seven Negro schools now operate at about 70 percent of capacity while many white schools are overcrowded.”
April 11, 1964, Page B-3: Fairfax County Decides to Close One of Its Six All-Negroe Schools. “The Fairfax County School Board decided to close one of its six all-Negro elementary schools [Oak Grove] and eliminated the 7th and 8th grades from the county’s only all-Negro secondary school [Luther Jackson]. All students involved in the changes will be reassigned to desegregated schools for the 1964-65 school year. The unanimous Board decision is a major step in the direction of total integration in the County’s schools.”
June 24, 1964, Page B-1: Fairfax Told To Integrate School System. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a March 4 ruling by Federal District Judge Oren Lewis that the school system was not discriminatory in its assignments and ordered a prompt end to discrimination. With further appeals considered unlikely, the School Board was expected to move promptly toward its stated long-range goal of total integration.
June 25, 1964, Page B-3: Fairfax to Tackle Segregation Puzzle. “In Tuesday’s ruling, the court said that boundaries of County school attendance districts must be redistricted by a strictly geographical standard and the teachers must be hired and assigned without regard to race.” The School Board had already set the first requirement as its long-range goal and adopted the second requirement as official policy in December 1963.
August 4, 1964, Page B-1: Judge Bars Segregation in Fairfax, Then Says There Isn’t Any Anyway.
November 13, 1964, Page C-5: Fairfax Plans Intermediate Use of Jackson. The School Board announced that Luther Jackson High School would be integrated in 1965-66 as an intermediate school. “The desegregation of the school, which was announced last spring, will mark the first time that white students in Fairfax County will be assigned to a previously all-Negro school.”
February 15, 1965, Page B-1: Dual Schools in Area Now Beginning to Vanish. Fairfax County was planning to phase out its five remaining all-African-American schools over an 18-month period. The desegregation plan, culminating five years of gradual change, was subject to final approval at a public hearing. Little opposition was expected.
March 26, 1965, Page A-6: Virginia Faculty Integration Hits No Snags. “Eleven Negro teachers have joined the facilities of formerly all-white schools in Fairfax County. In Fairfax County, where 71 of 3,392 teachers are Negroes, about 50 Negro teaches will be reassigned to predominantly white schools next fall. To avoid problems, the school system has applied for a Federal grant to set up a $48,470 program of ten seminars where about 150 Negro and white teachers will discuss possible problems arising from desegregation.”
August 31, 1965, Page B-12: More Students and More Teachers On Hand as Fairfax Schools Open. “While Fairfax school officials termed yesterday’s opening a routine one, it was an outstanding event in the history of desegregation in the county. About 1,800 Negro pupils formerly enrolled in segregated schools, had their first day of integrated classes. Two remaining all-Negro schools in the county will be closed at the end of this school year.”
September 4, 1966, Page A-1: Area Is Near Integration Goal 12 Years After Court Decision: Suburbs Are Nearing Integration Goal. “The high cost of maintaining separate schools for Fairfax Negroes—who this year will comprise 2.5 percent of a school population of 102,000—was a major consideration in hastening the end of all-Negro schools.”
November 17, 1966, Page F-1: Area Still Has Some Segregated Schools. Fall, 1966, School Enrollment – Fairfax County: 3,520 Negro; 98,312 White; 101,832 Total. “In Fairfax County, the degree of integration in individual schools varies from none to a Negro-white ratio of about 1-to-3 in Fairview and Louise Archer elementary schools. In only one school in Fairfax do Negroes outnumber white students: Parklawn, which is attended by 641 Negroes and 84 whites. Fairfax County integrated its last two Negro schools this fall.”