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One of the Charlottesville 12 Writes Children’s Book - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

One of the Charlottesville 12 Writes Children’s Book

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The story of the Charlottesville 12 will be part of the area's history forever. Now, one of the students who made history more than 50 years ago is sharing his story.

One of Charlottesville's own, Charles Alexander, is sharing his story as one of the first black children integrated into Charlottesville City Schools through a book called "The Skin is Just the Cover." 

As a child, Alexander could see Venable Elementary School from his backyard, but wasn't allowed to attend the all-white school until a court ruling in 1959.  

Nine children, including Alexander, went to Venable and three went to Lane High School, unaware they were making history as the Charlottesville 12. With the help of some teachers, Alexander's time at Venable was a positive one.  

"I can't remember a whole lot of negative incidents outside of being called a few names, but in this very classroom I had a very dedicated and committed teacher named Mrs. Miller and she provided a safety net to make us second-graders feel very comfortable and at ease," he said. 

Walking the halls of Venable, Alexander says he wants children to read his book and realize that many sacrifices were made for them.     

"The children today take for granted that it's always been like this. We could always go to the movies, we always had these privileges and opportunities," Alexander said. 

While the children are the ones recognized, he says the parents deserve the credit.  

"Really the parents are the heroes because if you think back, at that time we were children," Alexander said. 

Even though it's a children's book, Alexander says everyone can benefit from its message.  

"The skin is just the cover. Be it black, white, brown or other, goodness and greatness lies within, beyond the color of the skin," he read. 

The book will be published in Charlottesville City Schools before the summer. Alexander hopes to find a national publisher within the coming months.

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