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Racism

A moral imperative to rename Rawls Byrd Elementary School

A chilling silence resonated through Tuesday's W-JCC School Board Meeting as three former W-JCC students – Lafayette Jones, Vivian Bland, and Edith Heard – all recounted interactions with Superintendent Rawls Byrd. While they differed in their respective contexts, all three stories shared a common thread – they each described Rawls Byrd as an arrogant racist, unflinchingly contemptuous of any Black student who dared question the status quo of segregation.

As the man who united the Williamsburg and James City County school districts over a half-century ago, Rawls Byrd had long been remembered as a quintessential public servant. His tenure as Superintendent spanned...

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