Cover image for The moderates' dilemma : massive resistance to school desegregation in Virginia
Title:
The moderates' dilemma : massive resistance to school desegregation in Virginia
Author:
Lassiter, Matthew D., 1970-
Publication Information:
Charlottesville : University Press of Virginia, [1998]

©1998
Physical Description:
xv, 251 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Language:
English
Contents:
Massive resistance revisited : Virginia's White moderates and the Byrd organization / "When reason collides with prejudice" : Armistead Lloyd Booth and the politics of moderation / "Sometimes sordid level of race and segregation" : James J. Kilpatrick and the Virginia campaign against Brown / Emergency mothers : basement schools and the preservation of public education in Charlottesville / Massive resistance meets its match : the emergence of a pro-public school majority / "Impossible" Prince Edward case : the endurance of resistance in a Southside county, 1959-64 / "Fighting moderate" : Benjamin Muse's search for the submerged South
ISBN:
9780813918167

9780813918174
Format :
Book

Available:*

Library
Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Status
Central Library LC214.22.V8 M63 1998 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
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Summary

Summary

In 1958, facing court-ordered integration, Virginia governor J. Lindsay Almond Jr. closed public schools in three cities, one of the first instances of the "massive resistance" embraced by conservative southern politicians in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education. This action provoked not only the NAACP but also large numbers of white middle-class Virginians who quickly organized to protest the school closings. Confronted with the dilemma of accepting desegregation or the ruination of public education, these white moderates finally coalesced into a formidable political coalition that defeated the massive resistance forces in 1959.

September 1998 marks the fortieth anniversary of the public school closings. In The Moderates' Dilemma, Matthew D. Lassiter and Andrew B. Lewis have compiled six essays that explore this contentious period in Virginia history. The moderate revolt against massive resistance helped to save public schools and reshaped the political balance of power in the state, the editors argue, but it also delayed substantial school desegregation, as moderate Virginians became reconciled to the end of Jim Crow out of self-interest rather than a deep commitment to the need for equal education opportunity for all.


Summary

In 1958, facing court-ordered integration, Virginia governor J. Lindsay Almond Jr. closed public schools in three cities, one of the first instances of the "massive resistance" embraced by conservative southern politicians in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education. This action provoked not only the NAACP but also large numbers of white middle-class Virginians who quickly organized to protest the school closings. Confronted with the dilemma of accepting desegregation or the ruination of public education, these white moderates finally coalesced into a formidable political coalition that defeated the massive resistance forces in 1959.

September 1998 marks the fortieth anniversary of the public school closings. In The Moderates' Dilemma, Matthew D. Lassiter and Andrew B. Lewis have compiled six essays that explore this contentious period in Virginia history. The moderate revolt against massive resistance helped to save public schools and reshaped the political balance of power in the state, the editors argue, but it also delayed substantial school desegregation, as moderate Virginians became reconciled to the end of Jim Crow out of self-interest rather than a deep commitment to the need for equal education opportunity for all.


Author Notes

Matthew D. Lassiter is an intructor in the history department at the University of Virginia.

Andrew B. Lewis is an instructor at the University of Virginia and a scholar-in-residence at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for Afro-American and African-Studies.

Paul M. Gaston is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Virginia.


Matthew D. Lassiter is an intructor in the history department at the University of Virginia.

Andrew B. Lewis is an instructor at the University of Virginia and a scholar-in-residence at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for Afro-American and African-Studies.

Paul M. Gaston is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Virginia.


Reviews 2

Choice Review

These two books offer unique perspectives on the problems surrounding racial integration of schools. In 1956, the Virginia General Assembly passed a package of massive resistance laws removing authority for pupil transfers from local boards and cutting off state funding to any local school system that desegregated. In 1959, the Virginia Supreme Court and a panel of federal judges invalidated these laws. Lassiter (Bowdoin College) and Lewis (Univ. of Virginia) present a collection of six essays, many from a seminar at the University of Virginia, describing how moderate white residents of Virginia reacted. For example, the first essay describes how Armistead Lloyd Boothe, elected by the political organization of Harry Byrd Sr. to the Virginia legislature, sought reform, reluctantly voted for the massive resistance laws, and finally parted from the machine. Another essay analyzes how James J. Kilpatrick, then editor of the Richmond News Leader, popularized the theory of interposition, making resistance to the US Supreme Court appear legal. The third essay tells how nine white women in Charlottesville opposed the segregationists' willingness to sacrifice public schooling by offering the temporary alternative of emergency schooling. Unlike Virginia, New York officially opposed segregation. Yet, the residential areas of Harlem, the South Bronx, and central-eastern Brooklyn comprised the largest concentration of African Americans in the United States. The population included angry black militants, many conservative African Americans from a range of social classes, and the remnants of a once large white population, mostly Jewish. By 1965, black leaders of multiracial organizations that had fought for integration, such as the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE), embraced separatist ideals in Brooklyn, driving out many Jewish members. In 1967, New York schools began demonstration projects in such areas as Ocean Hill-Brownsville, and different elements in the community clashed. From his detailed and complex account, Edgell (Univ. of Southampton New College, England) determines that community control could be seen as a radical policy that offered the opportunity for community-wide change. However, he notes that it could be conservative because, at best, it allowed the residents to run their own ghettos without resources or direction for improvement. Readers who want to know more about the racial desegregation of schools, the motivation behind massive resistance, and community control should also consult Jennifer L. Hochschild's The New American Dilemma: Liberal Democracy and School Desegregation (CH, Mar'85). All levels. J. Watras University of Dayton


Choice Review

These two books offer unique perspectives on the problems surrounding racial integration of schools. In 1956, the Virginia General Assembly passed a package of massive resistance laws removing authority for pupil transfers from local boards and cutting off state funding to any local school system that desegregated. In 1959, the Virginia Supreme Court and a panel of federal judges invalidated these laws. Lassiter (Bowdoin College) and Lewis (Univ. of Virginia) present a collection of six essays, many from a seminar at the University of Virginia, describing how moderate white residents of Virginia reacted. For example, the first essay describes how Armistead Lloyd Boothe, elected by the political organization of Harry Byrd Sr. to the Virginia legislature, sought reform, reluctantly voted for the massive resistance laws, and finally parted from the machine. Another essay analyzes how James J. Kilpatrick, then editor of the Richmond News Leader, popularized the theory of interposition, making resistance to the US Supreme Court appear legal. The third essay tells how nine white women in Charlottesville opposed the segregationists' willingness to sacrifice public schooling by offering the temporary alternative of emergency schooling. Unlike Virginia, New York officially opposed segregation. Yet, the residential areas of Harlem, the South Bronx, and central-eastern Brooklyn comprised the largest concentration of African Americans in the United States. The population included angry black militants, many conservative African Americans from a range of social classes, and the remnants of a once large white population, mostly Jewish. By 1965, black leaders of multiracial organizations that had fought for integration, such as the Congress for Racial Equality (CORE), embraced separatist ideals in Brooklyn, driving out many Jewish members. In 1967, New York schools began demonstration projects in such areas as Ocean Hill-Brownsville, and different elements in the community clashed. From his detailed and complex account, Edgell (Univ. of Southampton New College, England) determines that community control could be seen as a radical policy that offered the opportunity for community-wide change. However, he notes that it could be conservative because, at best, it allowed the residents to run their own ghettos without resources or direction for improvement. Readers who want to know more about the racial desegregation of schools, the motivation behind massive resistance, and community control should also consult Jennifer L. Hochschild's The New American Dilemma: Liberal Democracy and School Desegregation (CH, Mar'85). All levels. J. Watras University of Dayton


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