The vandalism of the Ashburn Colored School is not a reflection of our Loudoun community; the response to the outrage is.
The motivations of the vandals are not yet known—whether kids not realizing the true significance of the words and symbols painted on the walls, or others who approached the task with vile racist malice. However, the outcome of those inexcusable actions already is taking shape.
First, the schoolhouse restoration project is now on a far firmer financial foundation. The vandals may have provided the guarantee that the building will stand to tell the story of America’s segregated past to many generations to come.
Second, the community may be stronger. Already, local Democrats and Republicans hit pause long enough during their bitter campaign battle to jointly condemn the vandalism and to boost efforts to find those responsible. And those who have been working to better preserve the fast disappearing traces of the county’s historically black communities now have the attention of new allies in their efforts.
On Sunday, residents from all across Loudoun will work shoulder-to-shoulder to erase the hate messages covering the school’s wooden siding. That gathering, too, has the potential to be the start of a special and long lasting campaign to bridge our community’s divides over race and religion. Although we may not see them here as frequently or overtly as residents in other areas do, those prejudices are ever-present.
We learned that this week at a small schoolhouse in Ashburn.