I am greatly troubled by the recent hysteria stirred up in Loudoun County about good faith efforts to teach a full history of our commonwealth and country.

As someone educated in the 1960s and 1970s, whose children were educated by LCPS during the 1990s and 2000s, I have been shocked to recently learn some of this county’s and country’s horrific history that I never knew before.

For example:

1. I never knew that the Leesburg fire department filled in a pool with cement and rock in 1965, rather than let black children swim with white children.

2. I also didn’t know that lynch mobs in the south treated the sadistic public torture and murder of black people as entertainment, gathering children from school and sending commemorative post cards.

3. I also never learned about the massacre and destruction of the black community of Greenwood in Tulsa OK Memorial Day weekend in 1921.

4. Did you know that German Nazis referenced US segregation laws and attitudes to build the legal underpinnings of their regime to subjugate Jewish people?

How did I get to the age of 60 in this country and never learn these things? I understand that these are uncomfortable stories to learn, but what good does it do us, our children, communities and country to pretend these things never happened?

I love this country and am proud of our founding ideals, accomplishments, and that we are a beacon to so many of the world’s people. It does not hurt me, as a white person, in any way to acknowledge this history, learn why, and discuss how to stay and do better.

Did you know Germans, by law, do not glorify Hitler and the Nazi regime and teach that history to guard against it ever happening again? I think this would be a wise course of action in American schools, including LCPS. How might we all be freed to move together in harmony by acknowledging what happened, understanding the root causes and committing to a more perfect union?

Sue Ritchey


(12) comments


Loudoun County Vol. Firefighters did not fill a pool with concrete. Rather, the Leesburg Vol. Dept. closed their pool. In the 70’s it became a happening little skateboard park when kids sneaked in and cleaned all the trash out. It was demo’ed not long after.


The important point is that the pool was closed by the Fire Dept. to prevent integration.



Desegregation in Leesburg was a gradual and generally peaceful occurrence that resulted in desegregated lunch counters as early as 1961. Loudoun County schools began desegregating in 1963, and were completely integrated by 1968, when the African-American high school, Douglass High, closed. However, in the summer of 1963, parts of Leesburg remained segregated, including the baseball field and swimming pool.

Leesburg volunteer firemen's swimming pool, which was built in 1956, was a public pool for white swimmers only. After successfully protesting to integrate both the Tally-Ho Movie Theater and Village Lanes Bowling Alley in the early summer of 1963, Leesburg's African-American community, including leader Gene Ashton (1946- ) and his sister Gertrude (Ashton) Evans (1948- ), turned its focus to the swimming pool. Even after several weeks of peaceful protests, they did not have any success; the firemen persistently refused to let blacks in. The swimming pool remained open for the remainder of the summer, but was still segregated. In 1965, one year after President Lyndon B. Johnson (1908-1973) signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibiting discrimination based on color, four African-American children were again refused entry to the Firemen's Swimming Pool. They and their parents filed federal suit under the aegis of Civil Rights Act. The following spring, the court ruled in favor of the children and ordered the firemen to allow black swimmers into the pool. The firemen refused and closed the pool to avoid having to integrate. The pool remained closed and in 1968, the land was sold and the pool was filled in with rocks and cement. It was not until 1990 that Leesburg again had a public swimming pool and not until 2009 that it had an outdoor public pool.


Not sure what your objective is jke?

1. Are you trying to change my mind?

2. Are you trying to discredit my point of view that racism has existed, and continues to exist, in this country and it is a civic duty to educate ourselves and our children about it, so that we can stay vigilant against it?

You may want to write your own letter to the editor to lay out your point of view.


Your pool example is a prime example of you believing the hype and not doing your homework.


Homework: “The History of the Loudoun County Courthouse and It’s Role in the Path to Freedom, Justice and Racial Equality in Loudoun County” This March 2019 report was commissioned by the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors in September 2017. The story about the Leesburg pool is on page 81 of the report (link and excerpt below).


“ Leesburg Firemen Refuse to Integrate Swimming Pool

On June 23, 1965, four African American children went to Leesburg's swimming pool, operated by the Leesburg Volunteer Fire Department, and were refused entry. A suit was filed on their behalf, and in May 1966 the court ruled in their favor. But the pool remained closed, and the firemen filled it with rock and cement rather than integrate. Leesburg did not have a public swimming pool until 1990.”


Examples are not true!








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