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School Desegregation in Virginia

A guide to published and digital resources related to the history of school desegregation in Virginia.

Overview

excerpt from 1958 telegram related to a 1958 resolutionTelegram from Virginia Congress of Colored Parents and Teachers, 1958. Office of the Governor, J. Lindsay Almond Papers.

This is a guide to published and digital sources related to the history of school desegregation in Virginia. 

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. The court ruled that segregation of public schools on the basis of race denied African American children the equal protection under the law guaranteed in the Fourteenth Amendment. Brown v. Board was a consolidation of five similar cases, including a Virginia case, Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County.

Virginia’s political establishment responded with an anti-integration policy known as Massive Resistance. Years of legal battles and school closures followed, culminating in two additional Supreme Court rulings, Griffin v. County School Board of Prince Edward County and Green v. County School Board of New Kent County. By the early 1970s, most Virginia public schools were integrated, though de facto segregation remained common.

This guide was originally created for the exhibition Brown v. Board of Education: Virginia Responds.

Revised April 2021