History Being Erased at W&L

14 August 2022

As a Lexington native, I was very interested in your recent article entitled, “Unheard Voices of Black Lexington.”  Congratulations to all who were involved in that historic project.  I delivered the Richmond Times-Dispatch to residents of Diamond Hill community in 1939-40.

In that same article, quoting Eric Wilson, executive director of the Rockbridge Historical Society, “History is not being erased, it’s being amplified.  It’s accelerating faster than at any time in human history and the challenge is filtering it, not erasing it.”

But not so with respect to Washington and Lee.  Just the opposite; history is being erased.  The president and the rector of the board of trustees are dismantling Lee Chapel, that has been the heart and soul of the university for thousands of its alumni and friends for more than 150 years.

Without the leadership of President Lee after the Civil War, it is highly unlikely that there would be a university in Lexington today.  Because of the high regard in which Lee was held in the North as well as the South, he attracted students and sorely needed funds that not only saved a struggling Washington College, but his foresight and leadership set it on a path to become one of the finest liberal arts universities in our nation.

Recent decisions and actions taken by the W&L administration and trustees with respect to Lee Chapel are not in the time-honored traditions of the Washington and Lee University that I attended, admired, and supported for more than 70 years.

Bill Latture
W&L Class of 1949
Greensboro, N.C.