Fannie Wilkinson Fitzgerald was born in Amelia County, Virginia on July 27, 1930. She was the youngest of eleven children. Her parents Reverend Isaiah and Lavinia Wilkinson instilled in their children a reverence for God, love for their fellow man, and the importance of education.
Fitzgerald attended Virginia Union University where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education in 1952. Her first teaching position was at a two-room school in Amelia County with no cafeteria or indoor plumbing.
After teaching for three years, Fitzgerald relocated in an effort to better her life. She applied for graduate school but was denied entry to Virginia Universities because of the color of her skin. She was however granted a full scholarship to attend Columbia University in New York City where she completed a Master’s in Special Education in 1960.
Before completion of the degree, Fannie was offered a job at Antioch-McCrae school for African-Americans in western Prince William County. After completion, she began teaching at the Jennie Dean School in Manassas.
Fitzgerald was a pioneer during the integration of Prince William County Public Schools. In 1964 she was appointed by the county board of education to transfer from Antioch-McCrae to Fred Lynn Elementary and Middle School in an effort to integrate not only students but teachers as well.
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