Saturday, March 29, 2003

Historic figures in integration of Virginia Tech question BOV decisions on race

This Roanoke Times article relates the views of the first African-American to attend Virginia Tech, who also "the first black undergraduate ever enrolled at a white public university in the former Confederacy," and was honored in Blacksburg this Friday. Irving Peddrew was admitted by Tech (without litigation) in 1953, after the University of Virginia had lost its legal battle in 1950 to deny admission to a black law student. (The NAACP, led by Thurgood Marshall and others, targeted graduate schools and colleges before winning the desegregation of public schools.) Peddrew "blasted the board for acting before the Supreme Court ruling and called the new policy 'grossly ill-timed and grossly insensitive.' Peddrew also criticized the board for approving the resolution without public notice or discussion." The AP had this report on the protests of black Tech alumni, joined by Peddrew.

Also this week, Virginia Tech announced that Chief Justice Leroy Hassell of the Virginia Supreme Court will be this year's commencement speaker, as stated here. While the Chief Justice will surely not comment on the school's admissions policies, he is a powerful thinker and speaker whose presence might inspire some to wonder how it is that African-Americans are better represented on the Virginia Supreme Court than on the public college campuses of Virginia.

The New York Times has this report on the anti-affirmative action group that targeted Virginia Tech, U.Va., and others for programs that provided special assistance for racial minorities.

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