Sherry Wilson Brown
Living Legend Lynnwood Campbell says no to many requests. He won't be a flunky or token on your board. But when there is a genuine need, he happily says yes. As a result, he has impacted our public schools and policies toward children, human rights, the city budget, charitable giving, and elections.
Lynnwood was born in Freedmen’s Hospital (now Howard University Hospital) in 1947, though his family lived in Alexandria. His father was a deliveryman who became the first black salesman at Virginia Electric Supply on King Street and his mother owns and operates her own beauty shop. Today, his younger brother, Bernard works at the Alexandria Amtrak Station. His sister Wilma Anderson, who died a few years ago, worked in the law offices of Samuel and Otto Tucker as a teenager and retired from Federal service. Lynnwood has a baby brother in Silver Spring, Zachary Moore, a retired IBM Engineer, who was adopted by the Campbells at three months when his mother died.
After completing St. Joseph’s Elementary School, Lynnwood enter 8th grade at St. Mary’s Elementary School where he was the first black student. The first week, police monitored the situation and Lynnwood’s father drove him to school. It felt like he was Sputnik with students coming up just to look at him.
"Then (the late) Ken Barnett came up and asked if I’d like to be friends. He was a really popular student and once we were friends, things settled down."
For High School, as a minority Lynnwood would have to appear before the Alexandria School Board (to which he was later appointed) and ask for permission to attend George Washington or Hammond rather than Parker Gray. He chose not to demean himself and instead accepted Virginia’s offer of one-half tuition to attend a school elsewhere (part of Virginia’s strategy of Massive Resistance to integration). Each day, he took a bus into D.C. where he attended Western High School. It had an interesting serendipity when he met his future wife Deborah on the bus. She attended arch-rival Wilson High School and after Western won a basketball game between the two schools and a fight appeared imminent, she told him to stay by her and they’d be safe. Today, they have a daughter Robin who lives near Philadelphia.
Lynnwood graduated from Western in 1965 and enrolled at Howard University where he graduated with a degree in accounting and business administration. He was working at Price Waterhouse when he was called to active duty. He completed the U.S. Army Finance School and was assigned to the Military District of Washington as the Deputy Finance and Accounting Officer. His brother Bernard was innocently caught up in a situation at Gino’s Restaurant. The youths actually involved left but when Bernard fought with a policeman, he was arrested. Word spread and there were several small incidents that threatened to lead to a riot which the Army was prepared to assist. Lynnwood went to his commanding officer and said he did not want the Army to go into Alexandria. He was told to get over to Alexandria and do something about it or the Army would come in. Lynnwood met with the city manager and got his brother out of jail (the charges eventually were dismissed) and generally calmed things down. The Army had no need to enter Alexandria.