|David Scull, from the Scull Studios website|
David H. Scull (1914-1983), a civil rights advocate who lived in Annandale and stood up in support of integrating Virginia’s schools, has largely been forgotten. But that could change if the new Mason Crest Elementary School in Annandale could somehow find a way to honor Scull’s legacy.
Craig Meiser, the historian for the Broyhill Crest Community Association, would like either the school’s library or cafeteria to be named for Scull. Meiser’s children will attend Mason Crest, and he plans to bring up the idea at an upcoming PTA meeting.
Scull, a Quaker, was vice president of the Fairfax County Council of Human Relations in the 1950s. He was also a partner in Turnpike Press, a calendar-publishing company based in Annandale.
The Stanley Plan also established the “Thomson Committee,” after Del. James M. Thomson, ostensibly to investigate race relations and integration, but with the real purpose of destroying the livelihood of anyone advocating school desegregation.
According to news archives, Scull was found guilty of contempt for refusing to answer questions at a hearing called by Thompson to investigate alleged illegal law practices by the NAACP. Witnesses accused Thompson of using Gestapo-like tactics to persecute anyone in favor of desegregation.
A biography of Scull published in 1985, A Man Who Made a Difference: The Life of David H. Scull, by Charles E. Fager, quotes an editorial in the Washington Post (Oct. 25, 1957) that lauded Scull’s stance before the Thomson Committee. The editorial states: “There seems to be strong moral grounds for David H. Scull’s defiance. . . . We congratulate Mr. Scull on his scruples and his courage. Such pangs of conscience are the guardians of human liberty.”
Scull sued Thomspon, charging his free speech rights were violated. The Virginia Supreme Court upheld the conviction, but it was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. In Scull v. Virginia (May 4, 1959) the High Court threw out Scull’s conviction, but did so on procedural, rather than substantive, grounds.
According Fager’s book, Scull had purchased “a wooded, two-plus-acre-lot in Annandale, Virginia,” in 1940. “Now a heavily developed suburb, in those days, Annandale was unmistakably in the country: The road was unpaved, the address was a rural route box number, and there was no sewage, water, or gas.”
David Scull and his wife, Lauren, paid $300 for the lot and got a $7,500 FHA loan to build a house. They later expanded the house and purchased an adjoining lot and lived in that house for the rest of their lives. Unfortunately, the book doesn’t provide an address.
During the 1960s, Scull was increasingly active in promoting Quaker-supported projects to encourage economic development in third-world countries.
The calendar business Scull founded, renamed Scull Studios, is currently operated by Scull’s daughter, Priscilla Scull Chappell, and her husband, Lou Chappell, in Marquette, Mich.