Event Title

Have Courage and Carry On: Stories from Maggie Walker High School, Governor's School, and Beyond

Date

April 2020

Description

Maggie Walker High School (MWHS) opened in 1938 to alleviate overcrowding in the lone black high school in Richmond, VA. Over the next forty years, it became a cultural institution in Richmond's black community, producing a passionate group of alumni. When Virginia courts finally implemented the ruling of Brown v. Board, MWHS became one of many casualties of integration. After years of sporadic use and later abandonment, the high school building reopened at the turn of the century as Maggie L. Walker Governor's School (MLWGS). Students transferred from the Governor's School at the neighboring Thomas Jefferson High School to the newly renovated building with mixed emotions. Since then, MLWGS has emerged as one of the top high schools in the nation– a massive outlier in its surrounding Richmond Public Schools (RPS) district. The school's demographics also sharply contrast RPS, a predominately black school system. What does it mean that this once all-black comprehensive high school now houses an elite magnet program populated mostly by white students? How has the Governor's School changed over time to reflect new values in education? This presentation will outline these ideas and various responses from oral history interviews conducted with alumni, faculty emeriti, and other stakeholders.

Comments

This oral presentation is based on an individual research project.

Presentation Type

Presentation

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Have Courage and Carry On: Stories from Maggie Walker High School, Governor's School, and Beyond

Maggie Walker High School (MWHS) opened in 1938 to alleviate overcrowding in the lone black high school in Richmond, VA. Over the next forty years, it became a cultural institution in Richmond's black community, producing a passionate group of alumni. When Virginia courts finally implemented the ruling of Brown v. Board, MWHS became one of many casualties of integration. After years of sporadic use and later abandonment, the high school building reopened at the turn of the century as Maggie L. Walker Governor's School (MLWGS). Students transferred from the Governor's School at the neighboring Thomas Jefferson High School to the newly renovated building with mixed emotions. Since then, MLWGS has emerged as one of the top high schools in the nation– a massive outlier in its surrounding Richmond Public Schools (RPS) district. The school's demographics also sharply contrast RPS, a predominately black school system. What does it mean that this once all-black comprehensive high school now houses an elite magnet program populated mostly by white students? How has the Governor's School changed over time to reflect new values in education? This presentation will outline these ideas and various responses from oral history interviews conducted with alumni, faculty emeriti, and other stakeholders.