“Whites Only” and “Colored” Signs Places on Water Coolers at Sweet Briar College

Sweet BriarLabels saying “Whites Only” and “Colored” were placed on doors and water coolers in a residence hall on the campus of Sweet Briar College in Virginia. The Sweet Briar campus is located on the site of a former plantation where slaves had worked. Blacks make up about 9 percent of the student body at the college.

After the incident was revealed, an anonymous caller telephoned the campus demanding he be told the name of the person who put up the signs and said he was coming to the campus in order to pursue justice. The threat prompted authorities to put the Sweet Briar campus on lockdown.

Later, it was revealed that a Black woman student at Sweet Briar has posted the signs. In an email to the college’s interim president, the student said: “While posting these extremely hurtful labels, I had one thing in mind. My mission was to show others that words can still have an extreme impact and the past still resonates with us all. I am the last person who would ever intentionally hurt someone else, but most of all, I am sorry!”

The student is no longer enrolled at Sweet Briar College.

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