We commend Shirley Robertson Lee for her work on the book “Trails and Trailblazers: Public Education and School Desegregation in Lunenburg County,” which highlights the history of Lunenburg to a new generation of readers and researchers.
Lee was first inspired to work on the book at her 40th class reunion in 2010 at Lunenburg’s Central High School, where Lee graduated in the class of 1970. The 1970 class was a unique class for Lee and her classmates, as it was the first fully-integrated graduating class of the school’s history.
“The work aimed to convey a sense of another time and place while providing an understanding of why and how certain events occurred,” Lee wrote concerning her book in its preface.
According to a Dispatch article, Lee also wrote in the preface that she interviewed an estimated 150 people, from civic leaders to former and current school employees and members of the community.
Lee said the only extensive study regarding Lunenburg’s educational history was written by Oscar Wood, who published “Development of Education for Negros in Lunenburg County, Virginia 1870-1952.”
She said her book will allow future researchers and students, including her own children, to have a comprehensive record of the county’s educational history, to have its history in one place when it had initially been spread throughout the state.
Lee is doing important work in preserving African-American history, and all of those in Lunenburg County and Virginia will benefit from the knowledge it provides.