Diversity and Equity

Burgundy became the first integrated school in Virginia in 1950. The founding parents sought an integrated educational environment that would prepare students to become productive contributors and leaders in a multicultural world.

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Today, Burgundy remains committed to being inclusive and supportive of diversity of all kinds. The Board of Trustees' Diversity Committee revised the school's diversity plan in 2007, and the entire school community, led by the administration, parents, and faculty Diversity and Peace Committee, is charged with its implementation. The school philosophy emphasizes the power of collaboration and a respect for differences in background, experience, and opinion.

To listen to an audio history about the 1950s integration of Burgundy, click here.

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Quotes

"I like Burgundy because you can be who you are and be respected. Everyone's not the same."

Student

"We affirm the unwritten agreement of the founders that Burgundy ... is open to all families who are in agreement with the basic principles as stated in the brochure. The Director, Enrollment Committee and Personnel Committee are instructed to act upon application of children and employment of staff without regard to race or creed."

April 19, 1950, Burgundy's Board adopted this resolution and presented it to a crowded room of parents at the Annual Corporation Meeting on May 1, 1950

"One of the most fascinating things, educationally and sociologically, about Burgundy during the 50s and early 60s, at least for myself as an African American, was that I lived in two worlds simultaneously. One was the world that Burgundy reflected, where I celebrated Chanukah as well as Christmas, Easter as well as Passover, and Succoth as well as Thanksgiving, and where we learned early on that people were people and diversity was a positive factor in life. The other world was Alexandria, Virginia, which had in those days almost every institution, including its churches and cemeteries, segregated. A friend of mine in another context called it 'growing up amphibious.'

The decision to strive for an integrated educational environment was not without controversy, even among those who were the school's first families. I am only glad the decision was made as it was in the 50s, because it meant for me that my own unique heritage was affirmed there while I lived and studied in a wider context. That's what got me through the 60s and the 70s!"

Tony Lewis '61