Decades After Integration, Lynchburg City Schools are Majority African American

Lynchburg, VA -{}It's been 60 years since the Supreme Court ruled on Brown vs. Board of Education --leading to the desegregation of schools. Now, for the first time this fall, the Department of Education says there will be a majority African American and other minority students attending public schools. That's already the case in Lynchburg. Lynda Woodruff and Owen Cardwell made history in January of 1962 when they became the first black students to attend EC Glass. Walking around the campus today, the student body represents kids of all color. However, the EC Glass of today is not the one Woodruff and Cardwell walked into in January of 1962. EC Glass Alumnae Kay Vaughan and Lynn Dodge say the EC Glass campus still looks and feels familiar to them. However, the makeup of the student body has changed vastly since they graduated. "The class of '64, we were the last class to graduate all white" said Kay Vaughan. Now, African American students make up over half the population at Glass. Vaughan and Dodge say they were sophomores when the first black students, Lynda Woodruff and Owen Cardwell, enrolled. "I think the headline said something like 'students entered EC Glass without incident" said Vaughan. In Lynchburg, integration efforts were prolonged. They say only a couple more students came the following year. "I don't know if there were ever more than 4 or 5 black students in the school our entire time here" said Dodge. "It was difficult for African American students to give up their favorite Dunbar, and some of them came reluctantly" said Former EC Glass teacher Gilliam Cobbs. Gilliam Cobbs was also on the front lines of iintegration Cobbs a Lynchburg native was the first black teacher at Glass in 1966. "School board members I think it was asked me if I would be interested in taking that job to make a little history do a little good work and obviously I was going to say yes to that" said Cobbs. He says, all in all, he didn't face much resistance. Cobbs says it was harder on the students than it was him. "Even then, I remember thinking how brave they were" said Vaughan. Now looking back, Vaughan says she would've done things differently. "I wish I had known them.{} I wish I had made it easier for them" said Vaughan. The Class of 64 will be celebrating their 50th anniversary this September.