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Calling For Improvements In Schools

The following are examples of African Americans working for improvement in their segregated community schools. African Americans spoke at School Board meetings asking for improvements in school transportation for their children. 


January 6, 1931 

Regular Meeting Fairfax County School Board meeting minutes  

In this same connection, the clerk read a request from the Pearson Colored School League for transportation from Ox Road and Sideburn to Pearson. 

It was moved, seconded and carried that the proper parties be notified that the Board declines to grant either of these requests.  [In the minutes there was an earlier request for school transportation.] 


December 5, 1939 

Regular Meeting Fairfax County School Board meeting minutes 

A delegation from the Cartersville colored community headed by Reverend Phillip George Higgins was heard. 

“They asked for help to get the colored children from Cartersville, Dranesville, and Forestville areas to the Vienna School. They stated they had gotten a second-hand bus to haul the children to Vienna and had arranged for a driver. They asked for help toward the cost of operating this bus stating that there were about thirty children to be hauled. The Board felt it could contribute gasoline and oil, but the owners of the bus would be liable to the State Motor Vehicle Department for the condition of the bus. The cost of gas and oil was not to exceed $1.00 per school day and the principal was to report monthly to the Clerk of the Board as to the number of children hauled each day.” 


In October 1945, the FAIRFAX COUNTY COLORED CITIZENS ASSO., FEDERATION OF COLORED P.T.A., and the ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED PEOPLE submitted an article in the Fairfax Herald  newspaper.   

The article is is included below. In bold print and all caps, the headline read: 


Socially minded Fairfax County citizens should realize the enormous waste of human resources taking place in our community by our failure to provide or allot an equal share of funds Cm* Negro Schools. WHITE SCHOOLS 1 All brick or stone, except 4 wooden buildings 2 Have running water, janitorial service, inside toilets, central heating 3 Children ride in heated busses. NEGRO SCHOOLS 1 One to three room wooden buildings 2 A!U have outside “pit" toilets for teachers and children, no running water; all stoves in the rooms 3 No janitorial service—teachers do all cleaning, haul water, make fires 4 Three schools have no water on premises 5 Some children walk from 4 to 6 miles to school 6 Buses are old and rickety and are not heated. 

HOW SCHOOL FUNDS ARE SHARED In 1935 the School Board sought a grant of $153,022.50 from PWA and a bond issue (which was defeated) to raise $187,027.50. Of this total of $340,050.00 it was proposed to spend for: WHITE SCHOOLS..$330,750—97.4 per cent COLORED SCHOOLS..... 9,00— 2.6 per cent In 1935 this county owed the State Literary Fund $188,739.32 (all of which had been spent on white schools). In that year the colored population of the county was 19 per cent. The 1945-46 PROPOSED budget provided among other items: FOR WHITE SCHOOLS FOR COLORED SCHOOLS Administration.$18,380  Operation of School Plant .. 80,350 ? (Salary of janitor, light, telephone and fuel) Capital Outlay ...$745,000 $45,000 The following proposed expenditures of a proposed loan from the State Literary fund were approved: WHITE SCHOOLS COLORED SCHOOLS $50,000 for Herndon High School 0 $40,000 for 2 classrooms, wash room and cafeteria at Vienna  $20,000 for 2 classrooms at Lincolnia  $10,000 to complete 2 classrooms at Groveton 0 $40,000 additional was secured to add elementary rooms to Madison School The Literary fund also seldom has been used to finance colored schools. 

L NEW WHITE SCHOOLS COMPLETED in 1945 - A new high school costing 250,000.00 in Falls Church. A new elementary school costing $169,000.00 was opened in Oakton.  There is no high school in the county for Negros. Most of the colored children, under heavy expense, attend high school in Washington. The rest must ride as many as 50 to 70. miles in rickety old buses—unheated—to Manassas where the Buildings are old and shabby and many are the relics of fifty or more years. There are HIGH SCHOOLS FOR WHITE CHILDREN IN THE COMMUNITY. 

A DISMAL PICTURE This is a dismal picture of education furnished colored children under the “segregated” school plan. Segregation has been justified constitutionally if “equal” provisions are made. The property value of most colored schools does not equal the cost of many chicken houses and barns in the county. Colored children have no school recreation facilities, no cafeterias, no modern sanitation, no central heating, no libraries, no janitorial service. Despite the soul inspiring work of well trained teachers, education under such conditions can be at best only mediocre. The debit cost of such education is computed daily in maladjustments, social disorganization and crime. Many of our worth while colored people are leaving for the cities, thus adding to national social problems. We Recommend Fair Play and Simple Justice: 1. Negroes should be represented on the County School Board.  2. Negro children should have equal physical accommodations and facilities. 3. The philosophy of school boards, “that we must look after our own first,” is morally and legally indefensible. That “Negroes pay less taxes” is equally untrue for poorly paid white people do not pay more.  


Fairfax Herald, Volume 64, Number 15, 26 October 1945 — Page 6