The Norfolk 17

LaVera Forbes Olivia Driver James Turner, Jr. Lolita Portis Patricia Turner Claudia Wellington Geraldine Talley Delores Johnson Johnnie Rouse Edward Jordan Alveraze Frederick Gonsouland Reginald Young Carol Wellington Betty Jean Reed Patricia Godbolt Louis Cousins Andrew Heidelberg


Reginald Young was one of two black students to integrate Blair Junior High School when the schools reopened in 1959. He was in the 8th grade, 13 years old, and later graduated from Maury High School in 1963.

Sam Ray, principal of Blair Middle School, recalled that both Reginald Young and Lolita Portis "went on and finished at Maury and to my knowledge had no problems at Maury. Reginald was the first black athlete that Maury High School had. He was an outstanding baseball player." Ray also stated that Reginald was "a very outstanding young man. In fact he was a law student at Stanford University. He was suddenly taken ill. Had a brain tumor and died."*

Reginald Young died in April 1977, before he had a chance to share his story and be recognized by the City of Norfolk for his bravery and courage.

Reginald Young leaving Blair Junior High School on his first day, 2/2/1959. (The Virginian-Pilot photo from a news clipping in the collection of the Women's Council for Interracial Cooperation.)

* Ray, Sam. Interview with Sam Ray. February 10, 1987. The Oral History of the Principalship. Digital Library and Archives, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Link