The stories of Marguerite Laurette Harper Scott, Laverne Higgins, Linda Edmunds Turner, are those of resilience. The African American community, the women of Virginia Tech, and the Hokie Nation have been irrevocably bettered by the lives of these three women. Marguerite, Laverne, and Linda, were three of the first African American women to attend Virginia Tech. Many different paths led these women to Blacksburg, Virginia. Each story inspiring in its own respect, Marguerite, Laverne, Linda, and their peers faced insurmountable barriers as they left home for their freshman year.
When they first enrolled at Virginia Tech in 1966, Marguerite, Laverne, and Linda were unaware they were the first African American women on campus. They found themselves a minority in southwest Virginia. At a time when the Confederate Flag was still on full display during football games, and there had to be approval for an interracial couple to date, these women used their voices and intellect to make a positive impact on Tech’s campus.
“I will say that my experiences here at Virginia Tech did make me a more radicalized person and someone who has fought for social justice since the days I was here.”
Shaping the culture of Virginia Tech, Margarite, Laverne, and Linda did not only use their time to redefine their own lives, but the lives of countless Hokies to come.
“During that time I felt like when we started we were called colored, when we left we were black.”
Virginia Tech challenged these women; nevertheless, in the face of great adversity, these women became advocates for the voiceless.
“…because you know we had to fight so much here that I’ve just taken that fight from here for the rest of my life. I’ve been fighting, advocating for children, advocating for people who don’t have…you know, just been an advocate as best as I could you know with my limited resources.”
These women contributed to the changing landscape of Virginia Tech. The impact of Marguerite, Laverne, and Linda has reverberated throughout all generations of Virginia Tech students. The Hokie Nation owes so much of it’s rich, diverse spirit to women like Marguerite, Laverne, and Linda. While Virginia Tech challenged these women in unexpected ways, they overcame adversity, becoming pillars of acceptance within the Hokie Nation.
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About this Story
Date Recorded: April 22, 2016
Interviewer: Shelby Ward
Date Posted: November 3, 2016
Editor: Shannon Larkin and Jessie Rogers