School Integration: Two Virginia First Ladies Reminisce at Forum


HARRISONBURG - Anne Holton and her mother, Virginia "Jinks" Holton, will speak about their first-hand experiences when Virginia public schools were racially integrated at the Two First Ladies of Virginia Forum at James Madison University. 

DATE: Tuesday, Nov. 18, 2008 
TIME: 7-8:15 p.m. 
SITE: Ballroom A, Festival Conference and Student Center, JMU

Anne Holton, Virginia's current first lady, is the wife of Gov. Tim Kaine. Virginia Holton is married to Linwood Holton, who was governor of the state from 1970 to 1974 during the stormy era of school integration. 

Sponsored by the College of Arts and Letters and the Department of Political Science at JMU, the forum will spotlight a divisive period in American history, particularly in the south, where some governors tried to defy the U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding school integration. 

On Aug. 31, 1970, while Gov. Holton escorted their older daughter, Tayloe, to the previously all black Kennedy High School in Richmond, Virginia Holton accompanied 12-year-old Anne and her 10-year-old brother, Woody, to Mosby Middle School, which was also a black school. Described as a family decision, the enrollment of the Holton children put into action the words of Gov. Holton's inaugural speech when he said, "the era of defiance is behind us and let our goal in Virginia be an aristocracy of ability, regardless of race." 

About Anne Holton: 
She attended public school in Richmond until her father's term as governor ended. She graduated from Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and earned her J.D. from Harvard Law School. Holton served as a legal aid lawyer representing low-income families and later served as a juvenile and domestic relations district court judge in Richmond. That experience encouraged a deep involvement in advocacy for foster care and adoption that led Holton to launch her signature initiative as first lady, "For Keeps: Families for All Virginia Teens," which focuses on helping the state find and strengthen permanent families for children in and at risk of entering foster care. Holton received the Annie E. Casey Foundation Families for Life Award of Distinction in 2008. 

About Virginia "Jinks" Holton: 
Before becoming Virginia's first lady in 1970, Holton worked for the Central Intelligence Agency and the American Embassy in Brussels, Belgium. After her husband left the governor's office, she served as a member of the University of Virginia Board of Visitors (1974-1982) and a trustee at Washington and Lee University (1985-1995). She is a trustee emerita of the University of Virginia Medical School Foundation and has served as president of the Virginia Environment Endowment and a member of the board of directors of the Action Alliance for Virginia's Children and Youth. A graduate of Stuart Hall in Staunton and Wellesley College, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree, Holton also received a certificate from the Latin-American Institute in New York City. 

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Published: Thursday, November 13, 2008

Last Updated: Wednesday, November 1, 2023

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