Through the Doors of Stratford

On February 2, 1959, four African American students entered Stratford Junior High School in Arlington, Virginia becoming the first students to integrate a public school in Virginia. The event ended the Virginia government’s policy of “massive resistance” designed to preserve segregation in all public schools in the state.

Through the Doors of Stratford is a series of online modules funded by Arlington Public Schools to teach high school students in Arlington about school desegregation from a history and government perspective. The modules ask students to analyze a variety of sources including photographs, maps, charts of data, editorial cartoons, court decisions, and video interviews with participants and scholars. Students learn historical and critical thinking skills as well as content — the “how” of history and government in addition to the “what.”

In Through the Doors of Stratford, students learn not only their own community’s past, but also how their local history can be understood in the context of Virginia and United States history and government.