As someone who grew up in Virginia, I would like to let Ronald Francis David Hunt (Letters to the Editor, Aug. 24) know that when the statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were commissioned in Charlottesville, another statue of Booker T. Washington was also commissioned. It stands in a park in Charlottesville, just like the other two. These statues were commissioned to honor Virginians.
Later statues, memorials and additions of Confederate battle flags during the late ‘50s and early ‘60s were due to “massive resistance” to integration and the Civil Rights movement.
My high school, Washington-Lee, was built around 1920. It was named after two important generals who lived in proximity to Arlington County. My graduation year, the governor of Virginia went around proclaiming “massive resistance” to integration.
When he came to Washington-Lee he spoke to our senior class with his message. As he got wound up, we slowly started getting up and leaving the auditorium, starting from the back row and working toward the front. This was noted at our 50th reunion.
Prior to that we had already been meeting with the “colored” high school (in defiance of state law). Our extracurricular clubs would meet with theirs. I remember the Pro-Con Club I belonged to having an end-of-school dinner with the other school at their cafeteria.
After our meeting with the governor, Arlington County integrated its first school the next school year — Stratford Junior High School. Other counties weren’t the same. Prince Edward County closed all of its public schools and opened whites-only private schools.