By Associated Press - Tuesday, June 1, 2021

LEXINGTON, Va. (AP) — The findings of a months-long investigation into racism at the nearly 200-year-old Virginia Military Institute will be released Tuesday, according to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

The probe was ordered by Gov. Ralph Northam and other state officials following a story by The Washington Post that said Black cadets and alumni faced “relentless racism” at the nation’s oldest state-supported military college.

The Post’s October story described threats of lynching as well as a white professor reminiscing in class about her father’s Ku Klux Klan membership. The Post’s reporting cited interviews with more than a dozen current and former students of color at the prestigious school.

Independent law firm Barnes & Thornburg conducted the probe. An interim report released in March documented responses from students, faculty and alumni about witnessing or experiencing racism and sexism. The final report will include recommendations.

VMI was founded in 1839 in Lexington, a historic town in western Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. The school educated Generals George Patton and George Marshall. But it’s also indelibly tied to the nation’s history of racism and sexism.

A prominent statue of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson, who taught at the school, wasn’t taken down until December. VMI didn’t accept African Americans until 1968 or accept women until after a 1996 U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

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