What a difference a half century makes. Fifty years ago this week, Nottoway County fully integrated its public school system -- back on Aug. 31, 1970. That was the first day of operation for what was then “Nottoway Senior High” (grades 10-12), which today is Nottoway High (grades 9-12).

My father, Doug Coleburn, led-off with this in his Sept. 3rd, 1970 Around Town column: “Schools opened in the county Monday, and although the two races were forced together in mass for the first time, there were no incidents. That is not surprising. The people in this part of the country are not violenceprone. Neither black nor white as a whole are looking for trouble. All good people want to do is live happy lives and enjoy what this great country has to offer.”

Here are some numbers that really tell a story. First day enrollment that year (1970) for Nottoway Public Schools was 3,005 students. Keep in mind that tobacco was still a big cash crop back then, and a number of boys didn’t come to school until after Labor Day or later because they were pulling tobacco. Then-Supt. Tom Stafford said he expected enrollment to climb to between 3,150-3,200 in the next few weeks.







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