Council Apologizes for Closing Schools in 1959

City Council has passed a resolution apologizing for its role in Massive Resistance, Rachana Dixit writes in today’s Progress. The vote was unanimous. Copies of the resolution will be sent to the dozen men and women who were the first students to cross the color barrier fifty years ago.

19 Responses to “Council Apologizes for Closing Schools in 1959”


  • What’s next? Reparations?

  • How is it possible to apologize for something someone else did?

    I see this as saying that they feel someone else was bad and nothing more. That’s pretty easy to do and doesn’t take much courage when the tide of public opinion has already generally moved in that direction.

  • City Council as an entity has apologized for its behavior. That’s appropriate.

    I’m more interested in how the concept of apologizing seems to be changing. We seem to do it less often with less actual remorse and intention of not repeating the mistake, and rarely are apologies actually accepted. Legal liability seems to have become inseparable from an apology, hence a certain impact in how often people & entities apologize. Many apologies that I’ve noticed recently seem to apologize for being caught rather than for the actual activity engaged in. Recipients of apologies seem to still await some other compensation, as though the apology itself has no currency in and of itself.

    I’m glad council apologized and did it well.

  • I guess this officially ends racism in America.
    Whew!

  • In related news, the Town Council of Salem, MA, apologized today for the infamous Salem Witch Trials.

  • …when will an apology be ‘issued’ to Middle-Easterners?… I won’t hold my breath.

  • It’s an election year.
    Did anybody think to give a meaningless apoplogy to all of those white students who were kicked out of school due to no fault of their own? There were well over 1000 who attended Lane High and Venable Elem. I guess they don’t matter. Obviously, it’s not politically correct.

  • Charlottesville City Council – Weenies.

  • Seriously … this apology crap has to stop. Who DOESN’T deserve an apology? I’m part Irish. Can we talk about the miserable treatment of Irish immigrants in the early 20th century? Come on New York City, where is my apology?

    I’m also part Cherokee Indian. Need a history lesson? I’d like a personal apology. I’ve been held back you know.

    Seriously … every time someone makes a joke about Irish drinking or sitting “Indian style” I get a complex and need therapy.

    Where is my apology???

  • It’s an election year.

  • Someone educate me here, please…

    From what I understand, the Governor closed Charlottesville’s schools because state law at the time allowed him to do that to schools that did integrate. If that’s the case, then what exactly did the City Council do then that might be apologized for today? Wasn’t the matter taken out of their hands? If so, what were they guilty of doing wrong? Also, if it wasn’t local officials( presumably acting under the authority of City Council), then who made the local move to integrate the schools which the governor then reacted to?

    Does someone have some personal knowledge of the history to share, or maybe a link to a decent source of information?

  • Seriously … this apology crap has to stop. Who DOESN’T deserve an apology? I’m part Irish. Can we talk about the miserable treatment of Irish immigrants in the early 20th century? Come on New York City, where is my apology?
    I’m also part Cherokee Indian. Need a history lesson? I’d like a personal apology. I’ve been held back you know.

    Mike, you’re describing how your ancestors were wronged. In this case we have a City Council that was complicit and cooperative in closing its schools and a city with hundreds of residents who were denied an education—some permanently—because of the closing of their schools. The organization that did the closing is apologizing to the very people who were wronged. That’s not abstract. That’s a very direct and at worst harmless apology.

  • No black school was closed and no black child who wanted to go to school was denied. The black students who were ALLOWED by committee to attend Venable and Lane were instead tutored at Venable. It was the white students at Venable and Lane who were shut out of their schools. I believe, however, that it was the black students who received the apology. Eugene Williams, who was president of the NAACP at the time has questioned why Council was not apologizing to the 1,000 white students that were locked out.

  • It is also interesting that the only person who showed up at the Council meeting when the resolution for apology was passed attend Jefferson Elementary School that year and was not assigned to Venable or Lane that year. None of the black students who were tutored at Venable during Massive Resistance attended Council’s meeting.

  • Yeah, Cville Eye, it’s all so likely whites were so wronged and all those blacks got it so easy. So? You should so propose a resolution to apologize to all the poor white kids in Cville from back then.

  • You’re right, Cville Eye—I routinely confuse how massive resistance played out in the rest of the state and specifically how it unfolded in Charlottesville. But my point stands, with the amendment that the apology was for black kids having been denied a decent education because of their skin color. There were schools, but for the most part, they were lousy, certainly in comparison to the white kids’ schools.

  • Waldo, I have yet to meet a local black in all of my years that will say that the black schools were lousy. The issue mainly espoused in Charlottesville during that time was that black children often had to walk past a white school in order to get to Jefferson Elem or Burley High. Certainly, Eugene Williams, NAACP president at the time, was not saying that the school where his wife and friends taught were lousy. Burley was five years in operation when the lawsuit was brought. It was spanking brand new in 1951 and looked then as it does now. I have met several former Burley students who went off to college, had their careers and have returned to Charlottesville who speak quite fondly of their days at Burley and how nuturing it was and instrumental to their success.
    BTW, have you seen this short? http://charlottesville.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=2&clip_id=417 Alicia Lugo is a staunch defender of the education provided at Burley at that time. Perhaps you have met her. She has retired from hieding up Teen Sight, a Focus program.

  • You’re right Waldo. You’re right Cville Eye. What’s your ethnicity, btw?

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