School History Sources (1937-1965)
A Note on Language
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 primary source material, the terminology used in the document has been retained.
Historic African-American Communities
Students who attended the Manassas Industrial School and Luther Jackson High School came from African-American enclaves interspersed throughout Fairfax County. The locations of many, but not all, of these communities are depicted on this 1878 map of the county. Click the box beneath the map to see the list of community names.
- Bailey’s Crossroads
- Cub Run (Rock Hill)
- East Woodford
- Falls Church
- Forestville (Great Falls)
- Freedom Hill
- Gum Springs
- Hughesville (Jacksonville)
- Mount Pleasant
- Oak Grove
- Odricks Corner
- Ox Road (Painters)
- Pearson (Burke)
- Seminary (Fort Ward)
- Spring Bank
- The Pines
- Tinner Hill
- Union Town
- Providence Heights (Location Unknown)
Hinkle, Lonnie J. A History of Public Secondary Education in Fairfax County, Virginia. February 1971. A Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the School of Education of The George Washington University in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Education.
“The early history of Negro secondary education in Manassas is really the story of the lifetime work of Jennie Dean, a daughter of former slaves. Through her efforts and influence over a period of years during which she began as a domestic in Washington, D.C. and Massachusetts, and then as a successful fund raiser, she was able to found and develop the Manassas Industrial School. Its dedication program in 1894 featured an address by Frederick Douglass and short speeches by the United States Secretary of Interior, the United States Commissioner of Education, the Virginia State Superintendent of Public Instruction, a United States Senator from Virginia, the president of Randolph Macon College, and Clara Barton, President of the National Red Cross Society. The emphasis of this school was on vocational training. The academic work offered was rather elementary at first, but after 1915 it was mainly of a secondary nature. The faculty continued to be well trained and the results of their work commendable.” (Hinkle, p. 23-24)
Fairfax County Deed Book 910, Page 261: September 7, 1951 – Ottomarius Enid Stone Faison, widow, to the County School Board of Fairfax County, Virginia; all that certain tract or parcel of land, located in Falls Church Magisterial District, Fairfax County, Virginia, described as follows: Beginning at a concrete monument on the westerly side of Gallows Road, said monument is the southeasterly corner of the Stone tract, and is on the line of the Child’s tract (formerly Camp Alger tract) thence with said line 381.99 feet to a pipe… thence with the southerly line of the Seoane property, the line being established by the average lines of an old fence… to a concrete monument on the easterly side of an existing outlet road… thence with the side of the outlet road to a concrete monument, thence with the northerly line of the Stone property, also the southerly lines of Robey and Anderson properties… to a point on the westerly side of Gallows Road, thence with the side of the road… to the beginning, containing 14.415 acres. It being the same land which was conveyed to Ottomarius Enid Stone Faison, widow, as Ottomarius Enid Stone, by virtue of deed dated April 15, 1916, and recorded in Liber A, No. 8, at page 176, among the land records of Fairfax County, Virginia. Received and admitted to record on September 27, 1951.
Fairfax County Deed Book 942, Page 174: January 1952, 6.516 acres from Consuelo A. Seoane and Corita G. Seoane.
Fairfax County School Board Minutes
The following records of the Fairfax County School Board quote directly from the original minute books, which can be viewed under the School Board section of the FCPS website.
Manassas Industrial School
April 5, 1937: The Division Superintendent presented correspondence which he had had with Superintendents Miller and Haydon of Rappahannock and Prince William Counties respectively with reference to conference having for its purpose an effort to arrange for an area high school located at Manassas to serve the colored high school youth of the surrounding counties, the thought being that the plant of the Manassas Industrial School might be improved to care more nearly adequately for the needs of these children than the several counties could possibly do in the development of separate high schools in each county. The Board expressed interest in such a study but was asked to take no action at this time.
June 18, 1937: The Clerk presented a letter and a resolution from the Fairfax County Colored Citizens’ Association expressing appreciation for the efforts of the Board to work out a regional high school for colored children at Manassas. The Division Superintendent also presented to the Board a copy of a letter addressed to Dr. Sidney B. Hall and prepared by the Division Superintendent of the counties interested in this regional high school. This letter was a follow-up of a conference of these superintendents with Dr. Hall in his office in Richmond on June 15 at which time these superintendents requested state aid in this project of the development of the regional high school at Manassas. The Division Superintendent advised that it appeared that Dr. Hall was most sympathetic to the plan and that state aid would be secured which might make it possible for this school to take children from Fairfax County for the coming session.
July 23, 1937: It was moved that if the projected regional Negro high school at Manassas were worked out that it might function for the session 1937-38 that no allowance toward the cost of transportation of Negro high school children attending school elsewhere be granted by this Board but that this money be used solely toward the regional Negro high school project.
September 2, 1937: The Division Superintendent reported that he had met with representatives of the Fairfax County Colored Citizens Association with reference to bus transportation of high school children in Fairfax County to the regional Negro high school at Manassas. He reported that it appeared that two buses would be necessary to touch points indicated below with the approximate number of children indicated opposite each to be picked up at these points. Route No. 1: Woodlawn – 8; Gum Spring- 10; Spring Bank – 12; Baileys – 9; Mt. Pleasant – 8; to Manassas, estimated distance 42 miles. Route No. 2: Sideburn – 4; Merrifield – 5; Falls Church – 5; Tysons – [blank]; Vienna – 7; Fairfax – 11; Chantilly – 2; to Manassas, estimated mileage 43. He explained that this set-up was as proposed by the committee with some modifications and distributed children as nearly evenly as evenly as possible, there being an estimated forty-seven (47) children on the first route and thirty-four (34) on the second. This would give an approximate mileage of 170 per day for 180 days which would total 3,060 miles. This mileage estimated at 10 cents per mile for operation would cost the county for the year approximately $3,060.00. Should the Board employ two bus drivers at $30.00 per month ($1.50 per day) it would amount to $540.00 bringing the total cost to $3,600.00. The Superintendent advised further that should two of the buses be diverted to these runs it would become necessary for the School Board to purchase another bus which would cost approximately $1,600.00 in order to take off an old badly worn bus which would have to be used to care for transportation routes of white children previous set up by the Board. There was considerable discussion as to the advisability of undertaking this project when the Board had budgeted only $1,500.00 for the item of Negro high school cost. The Division Superintendent reported further that there would be in addition $300 to $500 additional cost to this Board to go toward the operation of the regional high school plant. The discussion indicated that practically all members felt that this project should be carried through, it appearing to be from every point of view the best method of offering high school instruction to our colored people. It was moved that the Board approve the aforementioned bus routes and proceed with the transportation of Negro high school pupils to Manassas provided the colored people provide the drivers of these two buses free of cost to the Board. Motion seconded and carried.
November 5, 1937: A letter was presented from Ernest L, Pinn, Corresponding Secretary, The Fairfax County Colored Citizens Association, advising that when he had written the Board previously regarding additional colored high school children to be picked up by the buses operating to Manassas his group had not realized that to do this would necessitate the buses starting earlier in the morning and arriving later in the afternoon. In view of this necessary condition, he expressed the opinion that his association would not favor changing the routes to accommodate the two children who would be benefitted but would cooperate with them in getting to the bus on its present route. The Clerk presented a letter from Superintendent R. C. Haydon of Prince William County advising that should the counties participating in the Regional Negro High School at Manassas be willing to put up $30.00 toward the travel expense of the vocational agriculture teacher, the state would put up $30.00 and make it possible for this teacher to visit some of the projects. The Board agreed to bear its proportionate part of the proposed allotment.
December 6, 1937: A letter was presented from Ernest L. Pinn, Secretary of the Fairfax County Colored Citizens' Association, advising that this association had by resolution requested the School Board to include in its 1938-39 budget a sufficient amount for the payment of salaries of drivers of buses transporting Fairfax County children to the Colored Regional High School at Manassas. It was moved, seconded and carried that a warrant be drawn in the amount of $560.00 on account of the Regional Colored High School at Manassas this being the estimated pro rata part of the Fairfax County School Board on the basis of eighty pupils at $7.00 each.
April 5, 1938: A letter was presented from Mr. Fred M. Alexander, Supervisor of Negro Education, with which letter there was submitted a ruling of Attorney General Abram F. Staples with reference to some questions which had been asked him in connection with the Regional Negro High School at Manassas. He advised in this letter that in his opinion, under Section 670 of the Code, this property might be owned jointly by several School Boards (Prince William, Fauquier, Fairfax, Rappahannock). He further expressed the opinion that the deed from the present owners of the property to the school boards of the counties might carry a condition requiring that the use of this property be continued for the education of the Negro youth and that a literary loan for the improvement of this property could be approved even though such condition were in the deed. The Division Superintendent explained to the Board that the division superintendents of the four counties mentioned above had been working jointly in an effort to find means whereby this school property might be improved and better educational opportunities offered as a result to our Colored youth in this area. The Board expressed favorable reaction to the general plan of joint county ownership.
June 6, 1938: A letter was presented from Mr. R. C. Haydon, Superintendent of Schools of Prince William County, with reference to the Manassas Industrial School, Inc. and the development of the plans whereby the School Boards of Fauquier, Prince William and Fairfax will take over this property. This letter expressed the setup in some detail giving a conservative estimate of the value of this plant and farm at $56,125.00. He asked that this Board take immediate action by adopting a resolution indicating its intention to cooperate with the School Boards of the other two counties in taking over the ownership of this property and in securing a literary loan of $6,000.00 which would cover one-third of the indebtedness existing against this property. The following resolution was moved:
Whereas, there exists a great need for a highly developed type of vocational and industrial training for our negro youth above the elementary grade level in Northern Virginia; and, Whereas, the State Board of Education of Virginia has indicated its willingness to cooperate with the counties of Fauquier, Fairfax and Prince William in developing jointly a school that will provide these facilities; and, Whereas; a one-year experiment has been carried out at the Manassas Industrial School with a high degree of success; and Whereas, it is necessary in order to carry on the development that the aforementioned counties have a fee simple title to the property; and Whereas, the Trustees of the Manassas Industrial School have expressed their willingness by resolution to transfer the property, including all buildings, equipment, farm stock, machinery, etc., to the counties of Fairfax, Fauquier and Prince William if said counties assume the present indebtedness of slightly less than $16,000.00; and, Whereas, the Attorney General of Virginia has given his written opinion that such an arrangement would be entirely legal; Therefore Be It Resolved, that the County School Board of Fairfax County does hereby agree to enter into an agreement with Fauquier and Prince William Counties to establish a Regional High School for Negro youth above the elementary school level at the Manassas Industrial School, Manassas, Virginia. Be It Further Resolved, that this Board hereby agrees to accept in conjunction with the other two counties named, the title to the property under consideration and to take whatever legal steps necessary in improving and developing same, provided the Board of Supervisors of Fairfax County approve a loan from the Literary Fund of Virginia which may be necessary to consummate this undertaking, Be It Further Resolved, that the school be governed by a body known as the “Regional High School Board" consisting of the Superintendent of each of the participating counties and one member of the School Board from each county elected annually for one year. Be It Further Resolved, that the above-named board be designated at the same meeting adopting this resolution and that this board take charge of the development of the project as soon as the three School Boards have acted favorably on this resolution.
The adoption of this resolution was seconded and carried unanimously, The Clerk was directed to forward a copy of this resolution to Superintendent R. C. Haydon.
October 25, 1938: It was moved that a warrant in the amount of $6,000.00 be drawn and executed by the Chairman and Clerk of this Board for the purchase of one-third interest in the Regional Negro High School Property at Manassas which this Board had by previous action agreed to purchase, this warrant to be drawn payable to C. A. Sinclair, Treasurer of Prince William County, Virginia, and bear designation “For one-third purchase price Manassas Regional High School for Negroes.” Motion seconded and carried.
November 7, 1938: A letter was presented from Mr. R. C. Haydon, Division Superintendent of Schools of Prince William County and Chairman of the Board of the Manassas Industrial School for Negroes, advising that the budget for this Regional High School estimated that the participating counties would have to raise $2,940.00 toward the operating of the school, the balance being taken care of by the state. He stated that the present enrollment is 296, or approximately 300 and $2,940.00 being so close to $3,000.00 the Board had decided to set the per capita cost this year at $10.00 per pupil. Since Fairfax County had 114 pupils enrolled in the school at the present time, he was asking that this Board forward its warrant for $1,140.00 at the earliest convenience. It was moved, seconded and carried that a warrant in the amount of $1,140.00 be drawn to the Treasurer of Prince William County to be used toward the cost of the operation of the Negro Regional High School at Manassas.
December 5, 1938: Bills listed for payment were presented by the Clerk, folders containing bills pertaining to the several districts having been submitted to the several board members for their examination: Warrant No. 7830; Payee: Board of Trustees of Manassas Industrial School for Colored Youth, Inc.; For: Purchase of School Property; Amount: $5,333.33.
Luther Jackson High School
February 3, 1948: The Superintendent asked the Board to set a time to meet with a committee of the colored citizens of the county in regard to their request for the establishment of a colored high school in this county. It was the sense of the Board that this committee be representative of the colored citizens and that the committee as a whole visit the Regional High School at Manassas to familiarize themselves thoroughly with the setup and offering in that school before a time is set for the meeting with the Board. It was also suggested that this meeting be held some night.
March 2, 1948: Mr. Woodson reported that Reverend Costner had called requesting that the Board set a date for the committee of the colored citizens to appear in regard to the establishment of a Negro high school in Fairfax County. Reverend Costner advised that most of the committee had visited the Regional High School at Manassas and he thought the remainder would be able to do so before the meeting. It was decided to hold this meeting at 7:30 P.M on March 9 and following the appearance of the committee of colored citizens, it would devote its time to the preparation of the school budget for the year 1948-49.
March 9, 1948: The delegation of eleven representative colored citizens of the county entered at 7:30 P.M. Reverend W. E. Costner acted as chairman for the group and introduced each member of the committee telling which community each represented. Some of the members of the committee were Dr. E. B. Henderson, Reverend Shepherd, Reverend Winters, Reverend Adams, Reverend Taylor, Clayton Frye, Mr. Coates, Mr. Hamilton, and Mr. McCoy. Reverend Costner stated that two meetings had been held, one at Vienna and one at Falls Church, in which the people had discussed the need of a high school for Negro children in Fairfax County. He read the following resolution which was adopted at these meetings:
- “Be it resolved that the School Board be informed that the colored citizens of the County are requesting that a first-class comprehensive high school to which colored children may attend be constructed in Fairfax County.
- Be it further resolved that it is the sense of colored citizens that Manassas High School should be developed into a first class Regional Vocational High School.
Reasons advanced for these recommendations follow:
- Manassas is too far away from the majority of children in the County. (It is estimated some children have to travel over 90 miles by way of the circuitous route of buses. A minimum distance for the nearest is about [blank] miles).
- For many years over 100 County children have been sent to Washington high schools at great cost to their parents. Now that tuition is being required of all children going to Washington, many will be forced out. In addition to travel expense the tuition rates are: Elementary $106; Junior High $150; Senior High $194; Vocational High $250; College $243.
- The school at Manassas has never had the facilities nor educational opportunities the equal of high school education for white children. (Although sought and hoped for for more than ten years there is no gymnasium, no modern shops at Manassas. No matter how qualified the teachers or how good the courses on paper without adequate facilities the outcomes can never be equal).
- A first-class comprehensive high school will lift the level of intelligence for all colored citizens. It will keep more children in school, and will attract colored residents to the county who will be a great asset.
- By converting Manassas into a good vocational high school, our children will learn skills that will make them productive workers and citizens. Finally, the entire county would profit in the increase of intelligence, the reduction of delinquency and crime, by athletics and other programs, and the high school would be a source of information and inspiration to all.”
The Board and the committee entered into a general discussion of the request for a high school for colored children in Fairfax County. The committee was asked whether or not they had given any thought as to the proper location for such a school, the prospective enrollment and the courses which might be offered. They replied that these things had not been discussed at the meetings since they were at this time trying to get the sentiment of the people in regard to the establishment of the high school. Members of the committee stated that they and the Negro people felt very differently that there should be such a high school in the county. Most of the reasons given were set up in the resolution. The lack of moving picture houses, restaurants and such meeting places for colored people in the county was felt to be one reason for much of the colored population moving into Washington, D.C. where such places are available. They mentioned several prominent colored people who had made good in the business world who were born and raised in Fairfax County and stated that Fairfax County deserved some credit for these. The committee stated that they and the people were pleased with the new colored school at Falls Church and the consolidation of the Falls Church and Bailey’s Schools. They expressed appreciation to the Board for this nice school.
There was some discussion as to the effect a high school in the county would have on the Regional High School at Manassas. Members of the Board explained regarding the money invested in this school by Fairfax County and by the State. The opinion was expressed that some children would probably still wish to attend the school at Manassas to get vocational training since the enrollment in the proposed school would probably not justify the manual training or vocational courses. The feeling was also expressed that should Fairfax County withdraw its colored children from the Regional High School it might not have sufficient enrollment to justify maintaining the vocational school and the state might also withdraw its support. The committee was asked whether or not it would wish the School Board to erect a school containing just classrooms at first with provision for adding gymnasium, auditorium and other additions later or would it wish the complete plant. They expressed their preference for a complete plant but realized that this probably would not be possible and felt that the people would be satisfied should the initial step be taken to construct a high school in the county. The committee was advised that should a colored high school be constructed in the county the Board could not give any assurance as to the courses which might be offered since this would depend entirely upon the size of the enrollment of the school. The Board assured the committee that it wished to cooperate with the colored people of the county and it was trying to treat the colored children the same as the white.
The committee agreed with the Board that the problem of housing the white children was more urgent at this time than the building of a high school for Negroes in the county. The committee wished the Board to know that they have no criticism of the principal of the Regional High School or of the school, but they feel the school at Manassas involves too long a bus trip and that a high school for Negroes in the county would prove to be an asset to the county by bringing into and holding the better class of colored people. The Board told the committee that it cannot make any promise at this time, but that the matter would be considered along with the other problems which the Board must solve. The committee assured the Board of its cooperation and left the meeting at 9:10 P.M.
October 11, 1948: The Superintendent presented by means of a blackboard the following list of new schools and additions which he felt would be needed in Fairfax County within the next ten years. Code 1 projects were needed immediately; Code 2 were needed within two to five years; Code 3 were needed within five to ten years. [Excerpted below are estimated costs for the “Negro” schools as stated in the minutes].
|Name of School
|Site and Landscaping
|Floris - Oak Grove
|High School Facilities
Reverend Costner asked for a clarification of the item Negro High School Facilities - $700,000.00, and stated that he estimated approximately 350 Negro children in Fairfax County were eligible for high school work. Mr. Woodson replied that Reverend Costner’s estimate was rather high and stated that one of the following plans could be used in furnishing Negro high school facilities for Fairfax County: Join with Arlington County and Alexandria City in building a school to accommodate this area, build a Negro high school plant in Fairfax County, or continue to support the Manassas Regional High School. Mr. Woodson felt that the last plan was the most logical one at the present time, since the school at Manassas is depending to a great extent on Fairfax County for support, and that if such support were withdrawn, the State would be almost certain to close the Regional High School or withdraw much of its financial support. Mr. Woodson presented a letter dated September 29 from E. B. Henderson urging the inclusion of sufficient funds in the bond issue for a Negro high school in Fairfax County.
October 27, 1949: Mr. Shands [School Board Member] inquired concerning the Board's position on a high school for Negroes in Fairfax County in view of the proposed bond issue. It was pointed out that Alexandria City is now constructing a new Negro high school, but that the best plan for Fairfax County at the present time was to continue to transport these students to the Manassas Regional High School. The Chairman suggested that the Superintendent write to the Superintendent of Schools in Alexandria to ascertain whether or not they would accept Negro students from Fairfax County upon payment of tuition when their new high school is completed.
November 17, 1949: Mr. Haight moved that the Board include in the proposed school bond issue funds for the purchase of a site and erection of a building for a central Negro high school in Fairfax County. This motion was seconded by Mrs. Crowther and carried. It was the opinion of the Board that a high school for Negroes in the county would not give the children the best educational advantages but it seemed the only course to pursue at this time.
December 20, 1949: A letter under date of December 12 was presented from William A. West advising of the availability of fifteen acres of land on Shreve Road between Lee Highway and Leesburg Pike for a Colored high school site. The Superintendent's reply under date of December 13 was presented in which he advised that he did not believe the School Board would be interested in securing a colored high school site in this area. The Board concurred in the Superintendent's reply. A letter under date of December 5 was presented from A. J. Saunders advising of the availability of the following sites for a colored high school: 6 acres on Route #236 with adjacent land on Woodburn Road being obtainable; 22 acres near the same location; 17 acres in the Sideburn area; and 8.748 acres on Lee Highway. It was the sense of the Board that this matter be taken under advisement.
September 5, 1950: Mr. Haight reported that John S. Barbour owns land in front of the Fairfax Negro School from which he recently sold a portion for a Negro church site. Mr. Haight was of the opinion that Mr. Barbour might also be willing to sell some of this land for a Negro high school site. Mr. Woodson wondered if it would be possible to go down past the present Negro school to buy a Negro high school site. Mr. Haight thought that perhaps a large enough site might be secured from Mr. Barbour on the left side of the road for a Negro high school and then move the elementary school to the other side of the road also, in which case the present Negro school property could be sold. The Superintendent expressed the desire to have all of the school property here on the same side of the road. Mr. Haight was instructed to negotiate on the purchase of twenty acres of land in this community.
October 26, 1950: The Chairman instructed Mr. Haight and Mr. Rice [Assistant Superintendent] to continue looking for a site for the Negro high school in the Fairfax area.
February 6, 1951: The Superintendent reported that he and Mr. Haight viewed a possible Negro High School site which is available to a public water supply but not sewer facilities, this site belonging to Mr. John S. Barbour. Mr. Barbour expressed his willingness to sell this property for $1,200.00 per acre, however, Mr. Barbour does not wish to sell the property at all. Mr. Woodson advised further of a site facing on the Fairfax Station Road which appears suitable and is owned by Mr. Wilson M. Farr. The Chairman had planned to contact Mr. Farr about this property but learned that he had gone to Florida. There was discussion of the possibility of finding a suitable site at Ilda. It was suggested that the officers of the Colored Citizens Association be contacted and asked to assist in locating a suitable Negro high school site.
July 3, 1951: The report of the Superintendent was heard. Mr. Woodson advised that Mr. Ashby Graham and his family visited him one evening advising how they proposed to develop their property and expressing much opposition to the Board’s proposal to purchase part of this land for the Negro high school site. After further consideration of this matter, the Board was of the opinion that this site probably was not the most suitable in view of Mr. Graham’s proposed development and the lack of sewer facilities. The Superintendent suggest that the committee give further study to the possibility of securing the site at Merrifield or back of the present Negro elementary school in the Town of Fairfax. The Chairman appointed Messrs. Shands and Cockrell [School Board Members] to serve on the committee with Mr. Haight to investigate other Negro high school sites. Mr. Middleton moved that the action of this Board on June 27, 1951 authorizing the Superintendent to negotiate with Mr. Ashby Graham for the purchase of a Negro high school site and bus shop site from his property be revoked and that the committee investigate other possibilities and report to the Board on July 19. This motion was seconded by Mr. Haight and carried.
July 19, 1951: Mr. Rice reported that the committee has been working with Ollie W. Tinner in regard to selection of a Negro high school site and they recommend purchase of a fifteen-acre tract at Merrifield. Mr. Cockrell offered the following resolution: Whereas, in conformity with the proposed school building program wherein a new high school for Negro pupils is proposed to be constructed, and Whereas, this Board has selected a fifteen-acre tract on Gallows Road in the vicinity of Merrifield. Therefore Be It Resolved that this Board have surveyed and proceed to offer $8,000.00 for an approximately fifteen acre tract owned by Ottomarius Enid Stone Faison through her agents, Guy Tinner and Ollie W. Tinner, and Be It Further Resolved that the School Board agree to the terms of sale of $800.00 payment on signing of the contract of sale, the balance of $7,200.00 to be paid upon delivery of the deed upon approval of the Circuit Court of Fairfax County, the cost of the survey to be paid by the School Board, and Be It Further Resolved that the School Board Attorney be requested to examine this title and should it be found clear to request the approval of Court and should the Court approve that the transaction be consummated immediately, the Chairman and Clerk being hereby authorized to execute warrants on the School Bond Fund in the amounts and at the times as requested by the Board's attorney. Mr. Cockrell moved the adoption of the foregoing resolution. This motion was seconded by Mr. Shands and carried.
August 7, 1951: Mr. Woodson reported that he has heard nothing from Ollie Tinner who transmitted to the owner the offer of the Board to purchase a Negro high school site at Merrifield hence it may be possible that the offer was not accepted. The Board instructed its attorney to examine the title, secure approval of the Court, and proceed with condemnation of the property as soon as possible.
August 23, 1951: Mr. Woodson reported that Ottomarius Enid Stone Faison had signed the Sales Agreement accepting the offer of the Board to purchase approximately fifteen acres of land near Merrifield for $8,000.00, this land to serve as the new Negro high school site. He stated that the Board had on August 7 authorized its attorney to proceed to condemn this property. Mr. Shands moved that the Board delay action on the condemnation of this property pending the outcome of this transaction. The motion was seconded by Mr. Cockrell and carried.
October 2, 1951: Mr. Cockrell moved that Mr. Earl B. Bailey be selected as architect and requested to proceed with preparation of plans for the Negro High School to be constructed on the site recently purchased at Merrifield. This motion was seconded by Mr. Middleton and carried.
November 6, 1951: A letter dated October 19 and two letters dated November 2 were presented from Attorney John C. Wood with which he submitted… deed to 14.415 acres from Ottomarius Enid Stone Faison for the Negro high school site at Merrifield, this deed being recorded in Deed Book No. 910, page 261. The Superintendent advised of a telephone message from Mr. Caputi, real estate agent at Falls Church, to the effect that there was available seven acres of land back of the proposed Negro high school site at Merrifield which he would like to sell the Board at $1,500.00 per acre. It was the sense of the Board that the matter of additional land at the Negro high school site be discussed with Ollie Tinner since he had worked with the Board in securing the original site.
December 4, 1951: The Board heard a committee from the Fairfax County Colored Citizens Association headed by Rev. Sheppard regarding the progress being made for the construction of Negro schools in the county. Mr. Woodson advised the committee that… Plans are being prepared for the Negro high school to be located near Merrifield. The site for the Negro high school has been purchased, but Mr. Woodson said it looked as though it would be year after next before the building would be completed. Mr. Bailey, the architect for the Negro high school, was present and stated he thought he could get the preliminary plans on that school to the State approximately thirty days after he received a topography of the site and other details. Mr. Ollie Tinner entered the Board room to discuss the matter of the Board’s purchasing land adjacent to the Merrifield Negro high school site which a Mr. Caputi, real estate agent in Falls Church, has offered to sell to the School Board for $1,500.00 per acre. Mr. Tinner exhibited a drawing showing the location of this property. Mr. Woodson recommended the Board purchase as much of this property as is needed to straighten the line along one side of the Negro high school site. The following resolution was offered:
WHEREAS, the Fairfax County School Board has acquired only 14.45 acres of land at Merrifield as a site for a Negro high school which this Board deems insufficient particularly in view of the fact that it is now proposed to provide for elementary children on this site also, and WHEREAS, the Falls Church Realty Company has advised this Board that it has for sale a tract containing approximately seven acres adjacent to the high school site recently acquired which approximately seven acres is owned by Consuelo A. Seoane (widower) and Corita G. Seoane, sister (unmarried). THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that this Board offer $1,200.00 per acre for this approximately seven in acres of land and offer a deposit of $800.00 on this purchase, and BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the attorney for the School Board be directed to search title to this property and should such title be found clear and the owners be agreeable to this sale, to proceed with the consummation of this transaction, the Chairman and Clerk of this Board being hereby authorized to execute warrants on the School Bond Fund in connection with the purchase of this property. Mr. Shands moved the adoption of the foregoing resolution. This motion was seconded by Mr. Middleton and carried.
February 21, 1952: A letter dated February 12 was presented from Attorney John C. Wood with which he submitted deed from Consuelo A. Seoane and Corita G. Seoane conveying 6.516 acres of land to the School Board, this deed being recorded in Deed Book No. 942, page 174. The Superintendent stated that this is additional land for the Merrifield Negro High School site which brings the total acreage to 20.931.
May 6, 1952: Mrs. Ethel Harrison and two men from Lee Manor Subdivision were present and questioned the status of the Merrifield Negro High School, particularly in regard to the selection of the site. They stated that they were not protesting construction of education facilities for the colored children but feel the colored population in that area is small compared to the white and that the school would be in the wrong location. The Chairman advised that the site was selected after much study and investigation, that it was the selection of the colored people and it had been owned by a colored person. Other questions were asked and answered in regard to progress of plans, type of building, size, offering, etc.
May 29, 1952: The Chairman asked that consideration of the Merrifield Negro High School matter be postponed because of the absence of Mr. Shands. Mr. Davis stated that he could not be present at the next meeting and asked that his vote be counted as “No” on the question of building a combined high and elementary school at Merrifield.
August 5, 1952: A letter dated July 21 was presented from Architect Earl B. Bailey advising that in accordance with the Board’s direction he can easily request alternate bids on the elementary wing and auditorium for the Merrifield Negro High School but to request an alternate bid on the gymnasium would mean possible deletion of the shower and locker rooms and the music rooms, all of which are included in the physical education department and made an integral part of the main building. It was felt that this arrangement for the gymnasium made a better plan and should the auditorium not be built in the original contract the gymnasium might be used for this purpose. Mr. Rice reported on the meeting he attended in Richmond on July 28 in regard to Public Law 815 [which provided Federal grant funding for school construction in districts impacted by the growth of the Federal Government] and $195,000,000.00 is now available under this law. Applications have been filed for appropriations as follows… $570,000.00 for Merrifield. The architect has proceeded with revising plans for the Merrifield Negro School according to instructions from the Board in order to include the elementary wing; therefore, Mr. Rice requested adoption of the following resolution:
BE IT RESOLVED by County School Board of Fairfax County, Virginia: That the construction of Consolidated School plant near Merrifield, Virginia is necessary and in the public interest should be provided at an early date; and That for the construction of the aforesaid facility it is desired to obtain financial assistance from the United States of America under Title II of Public Law 815, 81st Congress, 2d Session, approved September 23, 1950; and That W. T. Woodson is hereby authorized to file on behalf of County School Board of Fairfax County, Virginia an application in the form required by the Commissioner of Education under Public Law 815 requesting payment by the United States of America of funds to assist said School District in meeting the cost of constructing said school facilities; and That the cost of such school facilities being estimated to amount to approximately $814,195.20 and application to the United States for the amount of $570,000.00, being authorized, $244,195.20 has been raised by County School Board of Fairfax County, Virginia through sale of bonds; and That W. T. Woodson is hereby designated as the authorized representative of County School Board of Fairfax County, Virginia for the purpose of furnishing to the United States of America such information, data, and documents pertaining to the application for funds as may be necessary, and otherwise to act as the authorized representative of the County School Board of Fairfax County, Virginia in connection with such application; and That certified copies of this resolution be included as a part of the application for funds to be submitted to the United States of America. Mr. Lory moved that the foregoing resolution be adopted which motion was seconded by Mrs. Crowther and carried, Messrs. Davis and Buckley voting “no” because they feel this will commit the Board to building the elementary wing onto the Merrifield Negro High School.
August 21, 1952: The following resolution was adopted by the Board: Merrifield Negro High School. Whereas, project Merrifield Negro High School, project No. Va. 52-C-3N, was part of the building program as set forth in the Bond Issue of the School Board on May 31, 1950, and the said Bond Issue was duly passed by vote of the people and funds have been made available by the sale of bonds. Therefore Be It Resolved, that the Fairfax County School Board will provide funds in addition to the amount reserved by the United States Office of Education for this project.
September 18, 1952: The Board requested staff to proceed to secure architect plans, and change orders through the Federal Government where necessary, for the… Merrifield Negro (Luther Jackson) High School auditorium… The following school enrollments were presented:
|Sept. 12, 1952
December 18, 1952: Mr. Earl Bailey, Architect, was present for the opening of bids on the construction of the new Merrifield Colored School. [In addition to the base bid, companies also submitted bids related to an elementary classroom wing, an auditorium, ceramic tile, aluminum windows, and basketball backstops]. The Board awarded the contract to Eugene Simpson & Brother of Alexandria, Virginia, in the amount of $887,066.00, leaving for further consideration of the Board the acceptance of the elementary wing and basketball backstops; subject to approval by the appropriate Federal agencies.
January 15, 1953: Mr. Rice advised that a resolution would have to be transmitted to the United States Office of Education of the Federal Security Agency regarding the revision of estimated cost of the Merrifield High School. Mr. Shands offered the following resolution:
Whereas, the Merrifield High School, Project No. Va-52-C-3N, was set forth in the building program to be financed through the sale of bonds and which bond issue was duly passed by a vote of the qualified voters of Fairfax County, Virginia, on May 31, 1950; and Whereas, it was later determined that the County School Board of Fairfax County, Virginia, was eligible to receive Federal assistance under Public Law No. 815 in the amount of $570,000.00 to assist with the construction of this school plant; and Whereas the County School Board on December 18, 1952, received bids for the construction of this plant and accepted the base bid together with Alternates 3 and 5 submitted by Eugene Simpson and Brother totaling $887,066.00 on that date, leaving for further consideration by the Board the acceptance of Alternate 2, this being the Elementary Wing planned also in connection with this plant; and Whereas, on January 6, 1953, the County School Board after further consideration accepted the bid of Alternate No. 2 submitted by Eugene Simpson and Brother on this project totaling $94,292.00, thereby making a total cost for the construction of this school plant of $981,358.00; and Whereas, Mr. Earl B. Bailey was retained as architect for the preparation of plans and supervision of this construction at the rate of five percent (5%) of the total cost of construction, making an approximate cost of $50,000.00 for architect’s fees; and Whereas, it is deemed advisable to include in the estimate of cost on this plant an item of $20,000.00 for contingencies, it would appear, therefore, that the total estimated cost of this construction would be $1,050,000.00, including architect’s fees, and it is understood to be advisable to file such a revision of the estimated cost with the United States Office of Education of the Federal Security Agency. Be It Therefore Resolved, that the County School Board of Fairfax County Virginia, hereby instructs W. T. Woodson, the Board’s authorized representative, to file a revised estimate of cost of the Merrifield High School with the Office of Education as follows: Plan preparation: $37,500.00; Construction: $1,000,000.00; Supervision of Construction: $12,500.00; Total: $1,050,000.00. Be It Further Resolved, that the County School Board hereby assures the United States Office of Education that the difference of $480,000.00 between the total estimated cost of this project and the amount of Federal Aid approved therefore is hereby reserved for the completion of this project as outlined in the revised application, such local funds to be placed in the special fund established in the accounts of the Director of Finance of Fairfax County if and when such local funds are needed during the course of construction Mr. Shands moved adoption of the foregoing resolution. This motion was seconded by Mr. Lory and carried.
July 7, 1953: Mrs. Krum was present to present a petition that the new Colored high school at Merrifield be named the William A. West High School. It was the Board’s policy that no school be named for a living person. Mrs. Krum asked for an exception in this case “since Mr. West is such an outstanding personality and has made such extensive contributions to civic welfare and good relations between his and the white race.” She shared letters and testimonials lauding Mr. West. She was told that there had been varied reactions to surveys concerning the naming of this school, that some preference had been indicated that it be named the Luther P. Jackson High School. The Board wanted opinions from more Colored people before making a decision.
December 1, 1953: With construction of the Merrifield High School well under way, the Board took under consideration the naming of the school. All suggestions and recommendations, as contained in voluminous correspondence on the subject, were reviewed. Mr. Davis moved that the Merrifield High School be named the Luther Jackson High School, this appearing to be the choice of the majority of the Colored people in the County. Mr. Robinson seconded the motion and it carried, Mr. Shands voting “No.”
December 10, 1953: There was some informal discussion as to principal assignments for the Annandale and Luther Jackson High Schools… Mr. Taylor Williams [was appointed to] the Luther Jackson School, provided he obtains his Master’s Degree. Action on his appointment was postponed.
April 6, 1954: The School Board approved placement of principals for the 1954-55 school session: Luther Jackson High School – Mr. Taylor M. Williams (from James Lee School).
May 4, 1954: The Board approved a change order on the Luther Jackson (Merrifield) High School constituting $79.50 extra cost, plus architect fees thereon, for changing the sign from Merrifield High School to Luther Jackson High School.
June 1, 1954: After lunch the Board went on to the Luther Jackson High School for an inspection of the building, which elicited favorable comments from all members.
June 29, 1954: Some discussion ensued concerning financial assistance to the Annandale and Luther Jackson High Schools for bands, athletic equipment and cafeteria, but no decision made. It was thought the needs of the new schools, insofar as their physical plants particularly, should be met first, and then the needs of the other high schools to the extent of perhaps additional bleachers or athletic field fence could be considered as they request assistance or as the need is brought to the attention of the School Board.
July 6, 1954: Mr. Kirby moved that 57 days extension of time be given Eugene Simpson & Brother, contractors, for completion of the Luther Jackson High School, due to unavoidable delays in deliveries of steel and glazed tile and lather's strike, subject to the approval of the Federal Housing Agency, which motion was seconded by Mrs. Lory and carried.
July 15, 1954: The Board requested the permission of the court to sell the two-room Merrifield Elementary School as it was to be discontinued for use for school property when the new Luther Jackson High and Elementary School was completed for occupancy.
August 12, 1954: The School Board approved a resolution authorizing the purchase of 400 copies of “Civics For Americans,” by Clarke, Edmonson, and Dondineau, for use by ninth graders during 1954-55 at Annandale and Luther Jackson high schools.
September 2, 1954: The School Board ordered 500 bleacher seats for Luther Jackson High School at a cost of $3,467.50.
September 7, 1954: Luther Jackson High School was accepted as complete by the School Board.
October 5, 1954: Mr. Woodson reported that Dr. Howard, Superintendent of Public Instruction, was in Fairfax County one day this week and went on a tour of some schools with him. Mr. Walker was with Dr. Howard when he visited the Luther Jackson School and reported that Dr. Howard commented this was one of the best Negro schools in the state, particularly the high school unit.
September 6, 1955: Faculty for Luther Jackson High School were assigned for the 1955-56 school year. Their salaries and length of contract were recorded. Principal Taylor M. Williams was paid an annual salary of $6,890, on a 12-month contract.
November 17, 1955: Mr. Pope, a FCPS staff member, reported that six driver training cars had been supplied by Ford dealers in the area to the white high schools, but none had yet been received for Luther Jackson High School, and all possible sources of donation had been contacted. The School Board directed Administration to purchase a Ford car for the driver training program at Luther Jackson High School out of the Equipment for Buildings Fund if it could not be obtained in any other way by December 6.
December 6, 1955: It was reported to the Board that Aero Auto Co., Inc., in Alexandria, Virginia, is making available, under the same conditions as Ford dealers for other county high schools, a 1956 Chevrolet for the driver training program at the Luther Jackson High School. The Board adjourned for members to go to Luther Jackson High School for lunch.
February 7, 1956: The State Board of Education has accredited the following county high schools for 1955-56: Annandale, Fairfax, Falls Church, Herndon, Luther Jackson, and Mount Vernon.
July 10, 1956: Mr. Hudgins moved that Taylor Williams, Principal of the Luther Jackson School, be invited to membership in the committee on school reorganization. Mr. Parsons seconded the motion and it carried. Mr. Woodson was asked to review the list of Colored representatives in the County, which had been submitted to him by their own association, for some recommendations to the Board for further membership on this committee.
September 2, 1958: Mr. Davis moved approval of a non-credit course in barbering at the Luther Jackson High School. Mr. Hudgins seconded the motion and it carried.
October 4, 1960: School Construction, Phase 1 of 1960-64 School Building Program: Additions, Alterations, and Renovations – School Plants: Luther Jackson, rooms for vocational courses and special facilities; estimated expenses $335,000 for building, $62,500 for equipment; total bond funds needed $397,000.
January 17, 1961: [The School Board adopted a resolution] assuring adequate supervision of construction of the George C. Marshall, Thomas A. Edison, and W. T. Woodson High Schools, additions to the Luther Jackson, Herndon, and Mt. Vernon High Schools, and the Herndon and Keene Mill Road Schools.
February 6, 1962: Mr. Wooldridge distributed copies of tabulation of bids on addition and alterations to the Luther Jackson H S., Earl K. Rosti being low bidder. With respect to the alternate requested for carpet in lieu of asphalt tile in the library, the Board felt this would be interesting for Mr. Wooldridge to pursue with supplier in an attempt to make some satisfactory trial usage at nominal cost. Mr. Thomasian moved acceptance of low bid of Earl K. Rosti and award of contract to this firm for the additions and alterations to the Luther Jackson H. S. in amount of $559,650, base bid plus Alt. #4 for Laboratory Equipment. (Mr. Wooldridge was instructed to pursue the possibility of rug installation on some favorable arrangements in order to permit experiment in this area). Mrs. Butler seconded the motion and it carried.
March 20, 1962: Actions were taken as follows, by unanimously approved roll call vote of all Board Members presents and voting: The Luther Jackson High School is to maintain its present service area (the entire County) for the 1962-63 school year, with an enrollment of 380.
April 9, 1964: First, transfer assignments, as follows, were approved, by motion of Mr. Futch, seconded by Mr. Clark, and carried, to facilitate school bus routing and scheduling in specific locations: Gloria Coates from Luther Jackson to Cooper Intermediate.
April 9, 1964: Prefacing any Board actions on agenda matters of school attendance areas and pupil-placements, the Chairman informed this Board has been spending a lot of time diligently studying all available information and materials bearing on the matter of desegregation in this county, and that it is now ready with a policy statement. Mr. Goldsmith, termed the Board’s “writer in residence” was asked by the Chairman to read the Board’s proposed statement on pupil assignment, as follows:
Luther Jackson Intermediate and High School - Since 1960 Luther Jackson School has been operated as the intermediate and secondary school for the Negro youth of the entire county, covering all grades through 12. The Board believes it to be impracticable that Luther Jackson Intermediate and High School shall continue indefinitely as an all-Negro school serving the entire county. The question then becomes one of how and when to move to a different pattern of operation for that school. To avoid abruptness in procedure or precipitate actions which will tend to disrupt the educational processes of the pupils presently at Luther Jackson, a “limited 'phasing out"' of the all-Negro character of the school and a controlled and positive transition to another type of use appears best from many standpoints. Accordingly, the "phasing out" of the all-Negro status will begin with the 1964-65 school session by the removal of the seventh (7th) grade from the grade structure of Luther Jackson School and the assignment of all Negro seventh grade pupils to other intermediate schools in whose attendance areas they reside. With this action, Luther Jackson will operate in 1964-65 for grades 8-12. The following session (1965-66) will see Luther Jackson with only grades 9-12, if indeed the Board then deems it wise to operate the school for these grades alone, since probably not more than 350 Negro pupils may be in attendance there.
The above action commits the Board to the termination in due time of this operation of the all-Negro Luther Jackson Intermediate and High School. In view of tremendous need for school facilities, the Board and administrative staff are in agreement based on present information that the Luther Jackson High School plant shall continue as one of our regular secondary schools enrolling pupils without regard to race. Any suggestion that the plants be removed from the Fairfax County Public School System is considered by the School Board to be unwise and unjustifiable.
August 20, 1964: All but six of the 30+ negro students from Fort Belvoir who had attended Luther Jackson High School last year have requested transfer to Mount Vernon High School, and the Board authorized that all the Negro students involved be transferred to the Mount Vernon High School.
November 19, 1964: The Chairman made a statement explaining the Board's proposals to utilize the Luther Jackson H. S. as an intermediate school next school session; to convert the Falls Church H. S. to intermediate school use; and to make the necessary modifications to the Whittier I. M. plant for its conversion to a secondary school; to permit best accommodation of students anticipated to be served by these school areas. The public was invited to submit its reactions and suggestions to these proposals at this meeting. The following addressed the Board, submitting essentially statements as indicated…
It was also brought out, by reassurances from the staff, that with the conversions contemplated, which can be accomplished without undue difficulty, the Whittier School will result in a high school comparable to any other high school in the county; that the present Falls Church H. S. facilities, with slight modifications and additions, will provide intermediate school comparable in its educational advantages with all other intermediate schools in the county; that the Luther Jackson School is particularly adaptable for an intermediate school facility. Thus, it was concluded that the Whittier, Luther Jackson and Falls Church plants, with proposed modifications, innovation and upgrading proposed, will be equal in every respect to the standards set for all high and intermediate schools in the county.
January 14, 1965: Mr. Hudgins moved Board approval of statement with respect to the Luther Jackson School as follows:
Pursuant to first step in the phasing out of the all-Negro character of the Luther Jackson School, in September 1964, seventh-grade students normally assigned there were assigned to intermediate schools in whose attendance areas they resided. Teaching personnel displaced by this action were assigned to other schools in keeping with the adopted policy of teachers being assigned to classrooms on the basis of their professional and personal qualifications. Now, after much more study and consideration, the Board intends to take the Final step in phasing out this all-Negro school. It has been concluded that it is not feasible or practical to enlarge the Luther Jackson plant to the Board’s adopted standard capacity of 2,000 pupils for high schools, and it has been ascertained that it can best serve as an intermediate school, considering the following relevant points:
- The Luther Jackson plant is modern, adequate in size and will not require any additional construction or structural alteration for conversion to use as an intermediate school. It can be available for use in September 1965, to provide needed relief for Thoreau, Frost, and Whittier Intermediate Schools.
- A proposal to convert Luther Jackson into an intermediate school would eliminate the necessity of constructing the proposed Pine Ridge Intermediate School. The Pine Ridge site, with acquisition of additional acreage, can be used for a high school plant in the future.
Thus, the Luther Jackson plant will cease to operate as a high school as of June 1965, and will reopen in September 1965, as an intermediate school.
Mr. Perlik seconded this motion and it carried. Renaming of this school is to be given consideration, staff to submit recommendations.
January 28, 1965: The Chairman read statement of the Board’s actions to date, and its proposals, with respect to complete integration of schools, as follows: Since 1959 the Fairfax County School Board has been proceeding in an orderly and gradual manner to desegregate completely the County’s educational program. The School Board has stated in court proceedings and in public announcements that it intends to establish school attendance areas strictly on a geographical basis with a goal of assigning pupils to the schools nearest their residences. In more recent steps to this goal, the School Board has taken the following actions: …On January 14, 1965, the School Board directed that Luther Jackson School be terminated as an all-Negro intermediate and high school effective June 1965, and be reopened in September 1965, as a regular intermediate school.
February 16, 1965: Representation from the Pine Ridge-Mantua areas suggested alternate use of the Luther Jackson H.S. for vocational school or technical college, rather than intermediate school, objecting to its placement in an industrial area and the general character of the surrounding neighborhood.
April 8, 1965: Mr. Hudgins proposed that the Luther Jackson School be renamed Carl Sandburg Intermediate School, confirmation of such action to be taken after the public has had an opportunity to react. The motion carried.
April 22, 1965: With respect to the tentative naming of two schools at the April 8 meeting, Mr. Clark moved that final designation of names for the North Vienna Elementary School, now under construction, and the Luther Jackson Intermediate School, contemplated to be changed, be postponed to another meeting. Mr. Perlik seconded the motion and it carried.
July 22, 1965: Naming of several schools was now considered. Several Board Members concurring that expressed public sentiment is that the Luther Jackson School retain its present name, the Board, by motion of Mr. Hudgins, seconded by Mr. Clark and carried, approved the name LUTHER JACKSON INTERMEDIATE SCHOOL for that plant which has been operated as a secondary school prior to this coming school session.
The Alexandria Gazette
December 23, 1952: 20 School Projects in Last Stage. Fairfax Building Advances as New Bonds Proposed. The article describes how nearly half of the 44 school construction projects in the current building program are 90 percent or more complete. It also states most of the funding for these projects came from the 1950 bond issue of $10.5 million, and the remainder came from Federal and State grants, State Literary Loans, and from funds received by the City of Alexandria during annexation. The article also describes how the building program got off to a late start because of a lawsuit contesting the validity of the bond issue. It goes on to list the various school project and to what extent they have been completed. It specifically mentions the “Merrifield High School for Negroes” as being one of the projects.
The Baltimore Afro-American
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
January 5, 1952, Page 13: Parents May Sue Over School Cash. Negroes of Fairfax County, Virginia, have become so “provoked” with the county’s failure to use bond money to help Negro schools that the local organizations are now seeking legal advice on how to get more money for their schools, according to local leaders. Dr. E. B. Henderson, vice president of the Virginia division of the NAACP, and director of health for Negro schools in the District of Columbia, declared that one-third of the $10,000,000 bond issue had been allocated for use in colored schools of that county. To date, declared Henderson, “not a single colored school or addition has been constructed.”
The Evening/Sunday Star
May 30, 1950, Page B-1: 19 New Fairfax County Schools Planned if Bond Issue Passes. Twelve new elementary schools for white children and four elementary schools for colored pupils would be built under the program adopted by the Fairfax County School Board, contingent upon approval of a $10.5 million bond issue tomorrow. In addition, the board is committed to construct two new high schools for white pupils and one for colored children. Additions are planned at 19 white elementary schools, one colored elementary, and three white high schools. New construction planned showing number of classrooms (but not multi-purpose rooms, assembly halls, libraries, etc.) is as follows: …Negro elementary – Fairfax, 7; Floris, 4; Gum Springs, 7; and Mount Pleasant, 6. Negro high school – location undesignated, 9. Addition to Louise Archer Elementary, 2 rooms.
September 1, 1954, Page B-9: 29,000 Pupils Return To Fairfax Classes, First in District Area. 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.
September 2, 1962, Page 1: Schools to Set Record With 572,500 Pupils. School Opening Schedule. Schools open on Tuesday in Fairfax County with an enrollment 72,220, an increase of 6,720. Additions were completed at Herndon High School, Luther Jackson High School, and Mount Vernon High 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 the 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 Spring 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.
September 22, 1963, Page E-2: All-Negro School Below Capacity - Luther Jackson High Points Up Fairfax Dilemma. The article describes the future of Luther Jackson High School and desegregation in Fairfax County. It states that there were 102 and 126 Negro children attending integrated intermediate and high schools, respectively, elsewhere in the county. Luther Jackson was described as 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, is expected to relieve some of the overcrowding at Annandale, Woodson, and Stuart. Fairfax County’s eight 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… 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.
April 23, 1965, Page B-2: Fairfax School Construction Faces Delay, Board Is Told. 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 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
June 1, 1950, Page 1. Fairfax Votes School, Court Bond Issues. County Registers 2-1 Tally for Emergency School Construction; Other Margin Close. Fairfax County voters gave overwhelming approval to a $10,500,000 school bond issue.
July 9, 1950, Page M-18: To Block Sale: Bond Issue Suit Filed In Fairfax. A suit to prohibit the sale of Fairfax County’s $10 million school construction bond issue was filed by Charles Edward Gardner, Sr., of Dranesville, and Paul E. Rhinehart, Jr., of McLean. The suit asked the Circuit Court to enjoin the county from carrying out the sale of the bond issue because of pending annexation suits brought against the county by Falls Church and Alexandria.
September 30, 1950, Page B-2: Suit Blocking School Bonds In Fairfax May Be Dropped. The plaintiffs in the bond issue lawsuit stated they would consider withdrawing the suit if they could be convinced the county’s pressing school needs cannot be met by any means other than the bond issue.
October 26, 1950, Page 1: Foes to Drop Suit Against Fairfax School Bond Issue. An agreement to withdraw the bond issue suit was reached on October 25 after a 45-minute conference between the plaintiffs and Attorney John Alexander, representing the Fairfax School Board.
April 18, 1951, Page 15: Fairfax School Bond Issue Blocked Again by Court Action. The $10,500,000 Fairfax County bond issue for school improvements approved by voters became bogged down in a new legal entanglement. Paul E. Rhinehart, Jr. and John H. King filed notice they would appeal a county circuit court order restraining them from filing further suits against the bond issue.
April 26, 1951, Page B-1: School Bonds Will Be Sold In Fairfax. Officials Decide To Proceed Despite Legal Suits Aimed At Blocking Funds. The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and School Board, in joint session, authorized their attorneys to file damage suits, for $250,000 each, against the plaintiffs in the bond issue lawsuit.
May 1, 1951, Page B-1: Plan Offered In Fairfax Bond Tangle. Protests Withdrawal Proposed If County Will Drop Damage Suits Against Two. The plaintiffs in the bond issue lawsuit, defendants in an injunction suit initiated by the county, agreed to withdraw their appeal in the case from the Virginia Supreme Court if the county would abandon its plans to sue them for $250,000 each.
May 5, 1951, Page B-2: Fairfax Bond Sale Can Now Be Processed. Circuit Court Judge Paul E. Brown issued an order permitting the bond issue lawsuit plaintiffs to withdraw their appeal, paving the way for the sale of the bond issues. Robert J. McCandlish, attorney for the county in the bond dispute, said he believed the bonds could be sold in about three weeks now that all legal barriers had been removed.
December 23, 1951, Page M-5. Fairfax Negro Groups Seek School Funds. The Federation of Colored Parent-Teacher Associations, the Federation of Colored Civic Associations, and the Fairfax chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People were planning to seek legal advice on how to get more money for African-American schools. E. B. Henderson of Falls Church, spokesman for the groups, said members were “provoked” that the county was not using bond money to help African-American schools. He said one-third of the $10,000,000 school bond issue had been allocated, but “not a single colored school or addition” had been constructed. “We realize that the white children’s needs are great, of course, resulting from the shift of population from the cities to the county, but we fear, from the lack of progress made on colored schools, that it is the plan of the school administration to erect all the white schools first and, if there is any money left, then turn to the colored schools.” Henderson said the protesting groups would discuss with lawyers an injunction procedure to force the county to allocate more of the bond money for African-American schools. Superintendent W. T. Woodson responded that the county was going ahead with plans for school construction as quickly as possible. He stated there were 7,167 white students enrolled in the county in June 1941, and 16,605 in June 1951, an increase of over 130 percent. He also stated that there were 1,028 Negro students in 1941 and 1,502 in 1951, an increase of 46 percent. Woodson also stated that “Plans for four Negro school construction projects are well underway. Architect’s plans for the Oak Grove school near Herndon are about finished, but the county health department has refused to approve the site because of unsatisfactory soil for septic tanks, Woodson said. Further soil tests are being made. Architect’s plans for the Louise Archer school at Vienna are also nearly ready, but the site is too small to meet State requirements, he said. The county is now proceeding to acquire additional land from four parties there. A new school site and plans for the new Gum Springs school have been obtained, but this project has run into septic tank troubles, he continued. The county has acquired 22 acres of land at Merrifield for the new Negro high school and plans were assigned to an architect on October 2, he said. Woodson added that a surveyor has been instructed to lay out land at the Fairfax Negro Elementary School for an addition.”
December 2, 1953, Page 12: New County High School Given Name. The Fairfax County School Board decided to name the new high school for “Negroes” at Merrifield the Luther P. Jackson High School.
May 21, 1954, Page 1: Still ‘Part of Virginia’ - Fairfax Continues Plans for Separate Schools. The Fairfax County School Board went ahead with plans for separate housing of white and African-American students in 1954-55 despite the Supreme Court 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.’”
August 29, 1954, Page M-28: Progress in School Construction – Relief for Fairfax Is in Sight. “The 14-room Luther Jackson High School is the county’s first high school for Negroes, who in past years have either been required to travel by bus to a regional high school at Manassas or attend Washington schools at their own expense.”
September 1, 1954, Page 17: Schools Open At 9 Today In Fairfax. “Newly completed schools which will be in use today for the first time are Annandale High School, Luther Jackson High School, and Sleepy Hollow Elementary School.”
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. The transfers now total five to Belvedere Elementary, nine to Cedar Lane Elementary, three to Devonshire Elementary, two in Hollin Hall Elementary, three in Bryant Intermediate, two in Madison High, and one each at Parklawn Elementary, Lanier Intermediate, and Groveton High School [Rayfield Barber].”
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 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.”
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.”
June 5, 1965, Page E-19: Williams to Remain Principal of School. “Taylor M. Williams, principal of Fairfax County’s All-Negro Luther Jackson School, will remain at its helm next year when it becomes a predominantly white intermediate school. The 48-year-old educator would become the first Negro principal of a secondary school serving mostly white neighborhoods in Northern Virginia, school officials said. Williams will remain with the school at his own request. Staying at Luther Jackson to help work out the facility’s changes “is a challenge” Williams said, adding that he prefers to continue “working directly with children.” Officials said he was also offered a job at the system’s administrative headquarters. Negro teachers and administrators who are being transferred to predominantly white schools have all been given their first or second choices in job assignments, Williams said. An enrollment of 1,000 is anticipated next year at Luther Jackson. Only 23 of the students will be Negroes, Williams said.”