Black cafeteria worker fired by TC Williams could replace him as Alexandria school namesake

In 1958, Blois Hundley, a Black cafeteria worker and mother of eight, was fired by then-Alexandria Public Schools Superintendent Thomas Chambliss “T.C.” Williams after learning she had joined a federal lawsuit to integrate city schools.

Now, Hundley’s name is among nine finalists in a public vote to replace Williams as the namesake of the school that was immortalized in the 2000 movie “Remember the Titans,” starring Denzel Washington.

Hundley was a cook at the Black-only Lyles-Crouch Elementary School, according to reporter Jim McElhatton, who has long-researched her role in local civil rights history. She died in 2008.

“This was years after Brown vs. Board of Education, and Alexandria — like a lot of school districts at the time — kept up its segregationist policies,” McElhatton said.

Blois Hundley. (Courtesy Hundley Family)

Hundley had joined a few other local families in an NAACP-led lawsuit against the Alexandria school system, and Williams, to integrate the city’s public schools.

“When T.C. Williams learned that she joined in this lawsuit, he immediately fired her,” McElhatton said.

Now, nearly 60 years later, Hundley’s name is among nine finalists in a school board-sanctioned poll to find a new name for the high school. Voting ends Friday at midnight.

McElhatton, who has kept in touch with Hundley’s children, said the opportunity to vote for a Black woman who was fired by a white segregationist superintendent is “poetic justice.”

“The fact that Alexandrians are finally learning of the very important contributions Blois Hundley made is moving and touching to the family,” McElhatton said. “But it’s important for all of us.”

On March 4, the top three names for each school will be presented to the school board for consideration, two weeks before a public hearing.

The school board will vote April 8 for the new names, which will be implemented July 1.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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