2/5/2002LYNCHBURG, Va. — On January 29th, 1962, a landmark court decision allowed Owen C. Cardwell, Jr. and Lynda D. Woodruff to enter E. C. Glass High School in Lynchburg, Virginia as its first black students. This past January—nearly forty years later—both Cardwell and Woodruff returned to the city to serve as keynote speakers for Randolph-Macon Woman's College’s Martin Luther King, Jr. service.
Cardwell is now the pastor and founder of the New Canaan International Church in Richmond, Virginia and Woodruff is a professor of physical therapy and founder of the Graduate Program of Physical Therapy at North Georgia College and State University in Dahlonega, Georgia.
Both speakers told the near-capacity crowd in the College’s Houston Memorial Chapel that becoming a pioneer in the civil rights movement was not something that they had planned on. "We didn’t realize we were making history," noted Cardwell. "We were just doing what needed to be done."
Woodruff echoed that sentiment. "I can’t tell you what an unbelievable experience it always is to sit and listen to someone describe me as a pioneer," she said. "That wasn’t on the agenda."
The service marked the opening of the College’s Black History Celebration—eight weeks of programming designed to celebrate the many contributions of black Americans to our nation’s heritage and history. A full calendar of events is available on the College’s web site here.
For more information on this year’s Black History Celebration, contact Director of Multicultural Services Hermina Hendricks at 434-947-8292 or the R-MWC Communications Office at 434-947-8142.
CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of Communications