Cecelia Long’s role in 1960s school integration

on September 6 | in Alumnae Connections | by

Cecelia Long '70

Cecelia Long ’70 (far left) on the day in 1960 when she and another African American student integrated a middle school in Roanoke. Photo credit: The Roanoke Times, file photo, 1960.

Cecelia Long ’70 was one of two black students who integrated a Roanoke middle school in September 1960. She talked about her experience in a Roanoke Times story (5/29/11) chronicling the history of the integration of the city’s white schools: “I tried to look like everyone else,” she said. “But of course, I couldn’t, because I was different.” Long remembers the insults hurled at her the first several months of the school year, but she did her best to ignore them and to avoid responding, just as the NAACP recommended. “I was there to study, not to make friends,” she said. Long was also the first African American student to graduate from Hollins. She lives in Dayton, Ohio, where she is the director of Mercy Manor, a transitional housing program for women.


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