Gaining Acceptance

The VIA began to establish cordial, harmonious and working relations with all teacher-sponsored groups for all extracurricular activities operating in Negro secondary schools. Indeed this was no easy task. There existed among teachers and principals much opposition to the VIA plan for operating school activities. Control of these activities by the principal, to many coaches and sponsors among other things, was an example of excessive power. The anti-VIA feelings were known and discussed by the VIA Organization Committee. Proof of this was the presence of most of the activity-sponsor chairmen at the meeting at which the VIA was activated. Furthermore, the following excerpts taken from the minutes of the VIA activation meeting demonstrated the importance the VIA leaders attached to the need for establishing a close working relationship with activity sponsors:

Mr. W. A. Brown [Carver, Chesterfield] then asked when the activities of the New Organization would begin. Mr. Duncan [Campbell County, Rustburg], Mr. Woodson [Foster, Nottoway], and Dr. Daniel [Virginia State College) made timely remarks in an attempt to answer Mr. Brown’s question. It was pointed out that the present activities organizations for our schools would continue for the time being in the framework of their present organization. Dr. Daniel remarked that nothing had been done to destroy or undo what has already been done by presently organized groups. ‘There is no matter of high principle,’ Dr. Daniel, remarked, ‘When high school principals and Virginia State College or any other college for that matter learn to work cooperatively through this organization, no other-groups can function.

Another excerpt from this initial VIA meeting also throws light on the matter of relationships with activity sponsor groups:
The Chairman then acknowledged the presence of the chairmen of student activity groups . . . . After expressions of appreciation for the cooperation and interest manifested by these groups, the following persons were presented who made timely remarks:
Mrs. V. H. Harrison, Chairman, State Music Conference
Mr. P. D. Vann, Chairman, Girls, VIAL
Mr. S. F. Griffen, Chairman, VIAL
Mr. J. H. Johnson, Chairman, Virginia Conference of Science and Mathematics Teachers.

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