I was at this meeting. I wonder who was the source of this information, since there was no reporter in the hearing room at the time this matter was discussed.
The discussion of the resolution was far more contentious than this news story suggests -- it was revealed that in the final text approved by the Light of Reconciliation committee, the Board of Supervisors was to "apologize" for the hurt caused by the school closings.
Supervisor Matty Wiley admitted, under questioning by Supervisors Lacy Ward and James Moore, that the wording was changed -- not by the committee, but by a small group of the supervisors that Ms Wiley contacted after the committee had completed its work. She claimed that she contacted several supervisors, but not all of them, due to lack of time. Both Mr. Ward and Mr. Moore protested the irregularity of her action.
Ms. Wiley stated that she could not bring herself to use the word "apologize," since she was not one of the members of the Board of Supervisors that closed the schools in 1959. Board Chairman Fore agreed, saying that he couldn't apologize for something he didn't do.
(Their protests ignored that fact that they are, in fact, the current members of the Board of Supervisors, and can't look to anyone else to apologize for the Board.)
Ms. Wiley threw up her hands and claimed she was willing to be "flexible" in finding an appropriate statement to replace the word "apologize" in the original resolution -- as if the Board was going to spend another hour of time (it was already past 10 PM, and this item was the 20th on the evening's agenda!) editing the text!
Besides Ward and Moore, the only supervisor who protested the editing-out of the word "apologize" was Sally Gilfillan, who had the decency to actually read the original, and replacement, text for the benefit of the audience, who had not been given copies of the texts. Gilfillan made some attempt to edit the text, but -- faced with the spluttering Ms. Wiley, the stated unwillingness of Mr. Fore to apologize, and the silence of Supervisors McKay and Jones -- gave in and agreed to the watered-down wording.
Not mentioned in this article is the fact that the Board punted on the decision of sponsoring an oral-history project (to be funded by an as-yet-unknown foundation) that would give all the people hurt by the school closings a chance to tell their stories and make them available in print and on the Web.
Mr. Fore stated that this was beyond the purview of the Board, and rightly belonged to the Moton Museum. The Board then voted to table discussion of the oral-history project until their August meeting -- so it will not be announced at the July 21 Light of Reconciliation ceremony when the Board's apology -- excuse me, their expression of "regret" -- will be read and the Light lit.
That ceremony will occur at 8pm on July 21, at the Prince Edward County courthouse.