Celebration of 50 Years of Integration

Austin de la Torre ’20

This past Thursday athletics were cut short and the Woodberry community gathered to celebrate fifty years as an integrated school. The evening began with a keynote address from Dr. Edward L. Ayers who is a professor at the University of Richmond and an award-winning author. Dr. Ayers talked about the complicated roots of segregation that began after reconstruction. The talk was extremely thought-provoking and touched an aspect of segregation that many never consider. The keynote was followed by seated meal after which everyone returned to the auditorium to listen to a panel of Woodberry alumni and one retired faculty member. The panel was mediated by Joe Coleman. The panel offered insight into what Woodberry was like after integration and the general lessons learned as a Woodberry boy.

While the entire community celebrated fifty years of integration a moment of silence was also observed for former headmaster Addison Baker Duncan ’45 who was vital in the integration of Woodberry. In 1968 Mr. Duncan wrote to the board and demanded that students be accepted to Woodberry regardless of race, and this policy was put in to place the following year. Sadly Mr. Duncan died Wednesday, January 16, in San Antonio, Texas at the age of ninety-one years old. The evening was an important reminder as to how far the school has come, and both the keynote address and panel discussion had a lot.

Categories: Today