Photo credits: The VMI Alumni Association
Amid a scathing racism investigation, the embattled Virginia Military Institute on Friday (Nov. 13) announced the interim appointment of a Black male leader for the first time in its 181-year history.
Retired Army Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins (pictured), 57, will serve as interim until the board appoints a permanent chief to run the nation’s oldest state-funded military college in Lexington City, Virginia, The Washington Post reports.
Wins graduated from the school in 1985. He replaces its longtime superintendent, retired Gen. J.H. Binford Peay III. Peay stepped down after Black cadets revealed systemic racism to The Post. Their revelations spawned an independent investigation, which was ordered by Virginia’s governor. The governor decried “the clear and appalling culture of ongoing structural racism” at VMI. The school received $19 million dollars from the state in fiscal 2020, according to the newspaper.
One Black student alleges that last year, a business professor reminisced about her father’s Ku Klux Klan membership. Other black students recall being the target of racist comments on an anonymous social media app called Jodel, The Post’s report says.
Last month, the school finally removed a statue of Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Jackson taught at VMI before helping to lead the Confederate Army.
“It is my commitment to you that we will change what is necessary and safeguard what is necessary to preserve,” Wins wrote in an email to VMI alumni Friday.
Reference: Editors, BET.com. (2020 November 15) First Black Man To Head Virginia Military Institute Amid Racism Probe. Retrieved from https://www.bet.com/news/national/2020/11/15/virginia-military-institute-cedric-t-wins-first-black-leader.html
*BlackThen.com writer and historian Victor Trammell edited and contributed to this report.