In late June, Josh Odoom ’ 19 started an
Instagram account called “Blackat WFS.”
Over the next two weeks, he shared more than
twenty stories, submitted by students and alumni,
of racist actions and words at Woodberry Forest.
“I made this account because I love the school,and because I think it needs some work,” he said.
Those stories and the conversations that
followed have been a reckoning for the entire
Woodberry community. The stories are painful to
read and illustrate times when students who are
not white were made to feel like they were not part
of the Woodberry brotherhood. In July the board
of trustees announced several steps it will take
to “acknowledge our institutional shortcomings
and work to advance the school’s mission more
completely every year . . . to create a stronger,
more inclusive Woodberry for everyone.”
Headmaster Byron Hulsey ’86 said this work to
address instances of racism is part of Woodberry’s
long-standing commitment to intellectual
thoroughness and moral integrity, as well as the
Christian commandment to love one another.
“We are living more fully into the values we
always held and into who we’ve always tried
to be,” he said. “And we’re recognizing that we
haven’t always hit the mark in the past.”
Alumni and Students Share Stories
to Build a Better Community
By Jacob Geiger ’05
“It really stems from a heart of ignorance, not a heart of badintent. . . . We can and should help lift that ignorance.”
AJ Wilson ’ 20
Editor’s note: Several quotations from students and alumni in this article recount the use of a racial slur. We chose to quote thestudents and alumni in full because we believe doing so is the best way to report on their experiences.