Highlighting the struggles of black veterans in NoVA (Fairfax)

Virginia is completely unique in its perspective when it comes to the Civil War, and that makes Fairfax County an ideal place for examining the complex African American experience during the war. The majority of the war's battles were fought here; the Confederacy's capital was located here; and all around the Fairfax County line, parts of the state never left Union hands (Fairfax). During World War II, Mr. Coates served in the Army; he enlisted in 1941, was commissioned, and finished the conflict as a captain; he then spent roughly 25 years in the Army Reserve (“LESLIE R. COATES, 90, DIES”).

Follow up deeper in a previous source, The EVENING STAR, Washington, D.C.  “Negro Juror Excused In Segregation Protest”. Leslie R. Coates, 90, a machinist, dairy farmer, war veteran, and church activist who had lived all of his life in Northern Virginia and made headlines in 1959 for attempting to purchase lunch at the Fairfax County courthouse, passed away on October 8 at Inova Fairfax Hospital. He had diabetes (“LESLIE R. COATES, 90, DIES”). Leslie R. Coates attended Howard College and Dunbar High School in Washington, DC. There wasn't an African American high school in Fairfax County until the 1950s. (Coates House Site, Fairfax County African American History Inventory). Luther Jackson High School, the only high school in Fairfax County that Black students could attend during the Jim Crow era, opened its doors in 1954 as a result of strong community support (“Luther Jackson High School | Jackson Middle School”).

Ray Young

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