On Feb. 2, 1959, Arlington's Stratford Junior High became the first Virginia school to integrate. On Monday, Arlington will mark the 50th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that outlawed school segregation by placing a commemorative plaque at the school. The building that was Stratford today houses the H-B Woodlawn and Stratford programs. Following are some commemorative events:
Monday: Historic marker dedication, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Stratford building, 4100 Vacation Lane. Remarks by Barbara A. Favola, Arlington County Board chairman; Frank K. Wilson, Arlington School Board chair; the Rev. Leonard Hamlin, Arlington Black Ministers Association; and Talmadge Williams, Arlington NAACP president. A moment of silence will be held at 12:52 p.m., the time when the Supreme Court's decision was read May 17, 1954, and also a "Swapping Stories" presentation, featuring two former Stratford students who attended the school in 1959 and two current Arlington public school students.
Monday: An Evening of Celebration and Commemoration, 7-9 p.m., Thomas Jefferson Community Center, 3501 Second St. S. The program will include a stage presentation, recounting the story of the Brown decision in the national and local arenas with music and song, along with the reading of a joint resolution and remarks by Wilson, Favola, Hamlin and Williams.
The events are sponsored by Arlington County, Arlington public schools, the Arlington Human Rights Commission, the NAACP's Arlington chapter, the Black Ministers Association and Arlington Public Libraries.
Throughout May: Arlington Educational Television will broadcast its Emmy-nominated documentary, "It's Just Me: The Integration of the Arlington Public Schools."
The documentary looks at the end of school segregation in Arlington and chronicles the legal battle waged by School Board members and the parents of black students for open enrollment at Stratford Junior High School in Arlington during the late 1950s. Also illustrated are the state's attempts to preserve segregation despite the Supreme Court's 1954 decision that all public schools end the practice. The documentary includes interviews with organizers of the protests that ultimately led to the enrollment of black students at Stratford in 1959.
Broadcast times on Arlington public schools' Channel 70 during the month of May are Sundays at 9 p.m., Tuesdays at 5 p.m., Wednesdays at 7 p.m., Thursdays at 5 p.m. and Saturdays at 9:30 p.m.
Check the school system Web site for additional programming and updates: www.arlington.k12.va.us/instruct/IMT/AETV/70/70.htm.