Virginia Beach Wants Blacks to Forget Beat Downs 15 years ago

Fifteen years ago, on Labor Day weekend 1989 , Virginia Beach experienced the worst disturbance in its history : the infamous Greekfest riots that left part of the resort strip a looted mess and prompted a massive, two-day police crackdown. The rioting happened during a gathering of thousands of black college fraternity and sorority members. Afterward, many black visitors vowed never to return -- a legacy that has lasted for years. Today, Beach leaders are reaching out to some of those same black groups, trying to book them into the new $200 million convention center, set to open this spring. The city recently hired Al Hutchinson , who is black, as the director of convention sales, and a black assistant . One black sorority already has agreed to be one of the convention center's first guests. That took some doing. [more ]