The Addisonians: The Experiences of Students Who Attended Lucy Addison High School,
Johnson Jr., Robert Russa
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Lucy Addison High School was an all-Black high school located in Roanoke, Virginia. All-black high schools are defined in this study as high schools that were segregated by race and attended only by Black students. Lucy Addison operated as an all-Black high school from 1928 until 1970 in two different buildings. Roanoke's secondary schools were desegregated in 1963. Addison was integrated in the fall of 1970 and closed in 1973. The purpose of the study was twofold. The primary purpose was to document the experiences of the graduates of the classes of 1963-70 of Lucy Addison High School. The secondary purpose was to determine if the supports found in the research literature about all-Black high schools prior to desegregation were present in the Lucy Addison students' experiences during the years between desegregation and integration. The supports are (a) the importance of a spiritual foundation, (b) high expectations from school administrators and teachers, and (c) parent and community support. Six common themes emerged from the interviews with participants. They were: (a) the importance of a spiritual foundation, (b) high expectations from teachers and administrators, (c) parent and community support, (d) school leadership, (e) attitudes on segregation and integration, and (f) school pride. These themes helped answer the four research questions that guided the study. After conducting interviews with the graduates, their accounts confirmed that the supports identified in the literature regarding all-Black high schools were present in their school experiences. The importance of a spiritual foundation, high expectations from teachers and administrators, and parent and community support could easily be seen in the experiences of all 16 students who attended Lucy Addison High School from 1963-1970. Upon reflection on the study, the researcher made certain recommendations for further study. The recommendations for further study revolve around the continued documentation of experiences of Lucy Addison High School students, conducting a study of Lucy Addison High School as an integrated school from 1970 to 1973, and assessing the reason why Lucy Addison High School was allowed to stay open as an integrated high school.
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