First Black Man To Lead Virginia Military Institute

The Virginia Military Institute (VMI) announced Friday (November 13) that retired Army Major General Cedric T. Wins will be its interim leader. 

Wins graduated from VMI in 1985 and will be replacing the longtime leader, retired General J.H. Binford Peay III

The historic move by the country’s oldest state-operated military college comes after a blistering investigation into the school’s racism came to light

Peay stepped down after a group of Black cadets reported systemic racism at the school to The Washington Post

Virginia governor Ralph Northam called for an independent investigation, citing “the clear and appalling culture of ongoing structural racism” at the school after the cadets’ report was made. 

The school, according to The Washington Post, receives upwards of $19 million in state funded in the 2020 fiscal year. 

One of the Black students who came forward about their experience at the school says a business professor reminisced about her father being a member of the Ku Klux Klan. 

The student also says an anonymous social media app, Jodel, created an environment that made Black students the target of racist posts. 

Up until its removal last month, a statue of Confederate General Thomas “Stonewall Jackson, who taught at the school before leading the Confederate Army in the Civil War, stood on the school's campus.  

General Wins sent an email to VMI alumni, expressing his determination to lead the school forward. 

“It is my commitment to you that we will change what is necessary and safeguard what is necessary to persevere.” 

Photo: Getty Images

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