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Home > News & Events > Press Releases > 2008 > Fannie Fitzgerald and the “Courageous Four” Legacy

Press Releases

Fannie Fitzgerald and the “Courageous Four” Legacy

October 6, 2008

Hazel Porter Sykes and Gwen Porter Washington (the daughters of Mary Glaze Porter), Nancy Osborne and Chuck Ruby with the Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI), Fannie Fitzgerald, Maxine Coleman and her husband, Dr. Ron Coleman, retired faculty member at NOVA.

On September 10, the Lifelong Learning Institute (LLI) of the Manassas Campus welcomed Fannie Fitzgerald as their first speaker this fall. Fitzgerald, an inspiration to civil rights activists and educators, spoke of her experience as a young African American elementary school teacher in Prince William County during the 1960s.

In 1964, four teachers, Mary Glaze Porter, Maxine Coleman, Zella Brown and Fitzgerald, were selected from the county’s three all-African American elementary schools - Washington Reid near Dumfries, Antioch McCrae in Broad Run and Jennie Dean in Manassas in order to begin the integration of the school system. This past March, the “Courageous Four” and their families were honored with the Prince William County Human Rights Commission Award for their role in local civil rights history. Fitzgerald was also honored this past summer with the naming of the Fannie Fitzgerald Elementary School, located in Dale City.

Speaker forums are held on the second Wednesday of the month at the Colgan Hall Theater (MA) and are always open to all faculty, staff and students. The LLI is starting its sixth year of enhancing learning opportunities to those who are 50 plus years in the Manassas-Gainesville-Haymarket area.

For more information about the LLI at Manassas, please contact Marya Wysocki, campus and community relations specialist, at or at 703-530-8243.

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Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America’s largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 60,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through the Extended Learning Institute. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College’s Web site,