Separate but not so Equal Virginia school 1950's

Separate but not so Equal Virginia school 1950's

“If we can organize the Southern States for massive resistance to this order I think that in time the rest of the country will realize that racial integration is not going to be accepted in the South.” With these words, Senator Harry Flood Byrd launched Massive Resistance, a deliberate campaign of delay and obfuscation. As head of the commonwealth’s most powerful political organization, known as the “Byrd Machine,” Byrd, a former governor (1926-1930), orchestrated Virginia’s response to the Brown decision. Massive Resistance was intended to slow to a crawl attempts to integrate Virginia’s schools generally and to minimize the effects of integration where it did occur.

Massive resistance was a policy declared by U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr. on February 24, 1956 to unite other white politicians and leaders in Virginia in a campaign of new state laws and policies to prevent public school desegregation after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954. Although most of the laws created to implement Massive Resistance were negated by state and federal courts by January 1960, some policies and effects of the campaign against integrated public schools continued in Virginia for many more years. from Wikipedia

I had never heard of the Massive Resistance until I had to teach it to 4th graders as required by-Virginia Studies Standard of Learning Social Studies 9 b) identifying the social and political events in Virginia linked to desegregation and Massive Resistance and their relationship to national history; At first I thought it had to be from the turn of the century history. I was amazed that it went on from 1956 to well into the 1960’s  Some public schools in Virginia closed. Military and ‘segregation academies’ were opened. Handley High School had race riots in the 1960’s. Even after some of the schools were forced to open them the students were all black because the white children and enrolled their children in private schools.Not an easy piece of history to  teach to 9 year olds.

It was such an ugly piece of history, so I was interested that the Richmond-Times Dispatch came out with a front page editorial apologizing for their part during this time. The comments are as fascinating as the editorial.

Times-Dispatch editorial expresses regret for Massive Resistance | Richmond Times-Dispatch

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