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Men who integrated Arlington Co. schools reunite 57 years later | News

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Men who integrated Arlington Co. schools reunite 57 years later

ARLINGTON, Va. (WUSA9) -- 57 years ago, four middle school students in Arlington helped to break down the boundaries of race by being the first to integrate Arlington County's public schools.

The students were only 12-year-old at the time but were not afraid. 

"What we went through at the churches around here and things like that. We were told what we could expect," Michael Jones, one of the students, said. 

Arlington's HB Woodlawn High School used to be Stratford Junior High School. The black students were led to believe their segregated school was inferior.

Protecting black history from gentrification

"You go in thinking these kids are going to be a lot smarter than us. But once you get in you see some were smarter, some were not as smart as we were," Jones said.  

The four students reunited Tuesday to celebrate Black History Month with the students of 2016

"I think our parents were more worried or afraid than we were,"  Lance Newman, one of the students, said. 

"It was actually peaceful. We had policemen lined up and down the street to make sure it went well and it did go well," Jones said.  

At historic black churches, freedom rings on

They had all been coached on what they might expect.

"We had a lot of prep for something from the parents and the community leaders," Newman said. 

Tuesday's event was a chance for everyone to take in the history with a film presentation and community conversation about that moment in 1959 and where we've come since.

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