RPI TO INTEGRATE
"After an extensive and often heated debate, the Board of Directors at the Randolph-Poythress Institute has announced that, beginning in September, it will officially desegregate its student populace, opening admission up to non-white students in the fall of this year. This follows a two-year appeal by the Asher family of Suffolk, Virginia, to allow their son George to attend the school.
"RPI Headmaster Frederick Bryant, who has long supported the Ashers’ case against the resistance of the Board, expressed pleasure at the determination. ‘Some will say — as they have said, and are no doubt saying now — that it is too soon for this move. Others will say it is long past time. The fact is that we have too long denied worthy students entrance to the Institute, and we are the poorer for it. In order to live up to our own standards — Praestantia Florebit — we must recognize potential, talent, and achievement wherever they are born. I have full faith that young Mr. Asher and many others like him will be a credit to our school and our community.’
"When asked if last week’s ruling of the Muggle Supreme Court had influenced the Board’s decision, Bryant said, ‘I believe that legal argument was what swayed the deciding votes. In matters of civil liberties, the laws of the wizarding world must not be in disharmony with the Muggle laws of the nation in which we reside.’
"The Board’s vote carried 9-5. Leading dissenter Mr. Henley Burke-Harrow closed his argument by saying, ‘There is no need to introduce such a disruption to our students. Other schools such as Allegiance and Mesa have proven themselves more than capable of tending to the needs of alternate students. I say, let them continue to do so, and let us continue in our own traditions.’ Madam Rhea Ferrers, who has advocated for integration for over a decade now, was heard speculating on where Mr. Burke-Harrow could stick both his wand and his opinions.
"The Ashers declined to supply a quote to the Standard, but did confirm that George will transfer from Allegiance Academy to RPI in the fall. He will be joined by his younger brother Maurice, just turned 11.”
—Sorcery Standard, 23 May 1964
(Today marks the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark civil rights case which officially de-segregated American schools. In the intervening generations, however, many areas have ended up de facto segregated more than they were before the decision, particularly in the urbanized Northeast).