RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) –It’s Richmond Community High School today, but in 1960, that building was known as Chandler Middle School.
It became the first racially integrated school in Richmond, more than six years after the passage of Brown v. Board of Education.
Oliver Hill Jr. remembers that day like it was yesterday. He started classes at Chandler the year after it was integrated.
“There were some rocky days, but vast majority of the people were accepting,” says Hill, Jr.
His dad, Oliver Hill, Sr., played a key role in desegregating schools, arguing for equality in Prince Edward County. That case became one of five decided under Brown vs. Board of education.
Hill, Jr. says he’s disappointed to see that so much inequality still exists.
“What they thought was going to be accomplished in the ‘54 decision still hasn’t occurred yet and that’s true integration in schools,” says Hill, Jr.
Demographic data we obtained shows most schools in Henrico and Chesterfield have an overwhelming Black, White or Hispanic population, with most Richmond classrooms being black.
However, former State School Superintendent, Dr. Bill Bosher says it’s no longer about race, but something the courts can’t change, which are socioeconomic status and segregated neighborhoods.
“You can’t dictate where people choose to live or with whom they associate,” says Dr. Bosher.
A mixed school was key for one Richmond mom.
Sarah Gross tells CBS 6’s Lorenzo Hall, that’s why she and her husband chose to raise their kids in a section of the city with a diverse school.
“We felt the more they saw, the more comfortable that they became, the broader their experience, the more well-rounded they would become as adults,” says Gross.
Bosher tells, a number of programs have been implemented at various schools in the state to diversity schools and get students out of their zip code, but Bosher says it’s up to parents to make that decision.