Bill and Marvin at VES

Sep 8, 2017

In this week’s episode, “Essay B,” Mosi Secret tells the story of the Magnificent Seven, a group of black students who, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, integrated an all-white private boarding school in Virginia. (Read more about the Magnificent Seven in the New York Times Magazine's "The Way to Survive It Was to Make A's.")

Bill Alexander, left, and Marvin Barnard. Credit: Virginia Episcopal School

The first two students, Bill Alexander and Marvin Barnard — above, as freshman, and below, as seniors — started in the fall of 1967. They quickly became stars at the school and ended up finishing at numbers one and two overall for the 4 years.

Bill, left, and Marvin. Credit: Virginia Episcopal School

Bill and Marvin were part of an experiment. The Stouffer Foundation selected young black boys from all over the South to integrate prep schools, with the idea that it would ultimately benefit the white students — by teaching them to be less bigoted.

Here’s a portion of Bill and Marvin’s applications.