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Grant number: BH-50661-14

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BH-50661-14

Old Dominion University Research Foundation (Norfolk, VA 23508-0369)
Yonghee Suh (Project Director: 03/05/2014 to present)

The Long Road from Brown: School Desegregation in Virginia

Two one-week workshops for seventy-two school teachers on Virginia's "Massive Resistance" to the 1954 Supreme Court ruling Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

This workshop focuses on the leading role Virginia played in resisting the 1954 decision of the United States Supreme Court that state laws designating separate public schools for black and white students are unconstitutional. In the wake of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka ruling, Virginia launched a "Massive Resistance" using numerous approaches to circumvent Brown, ranging from the creation of state-funded private "segregation academies" to shutting down public schools entirely, as in Prince Edward County. The workshop builds on the Desegregation of Virginia Education (DOVE) project, a state-wide collaboration of scholars and archivists endeavoring to discover and preserve documentation of Virginia communities' efforts to resist or implement school desegregation. The workshop is codirected by education specialist Yonghee Suh of Old Dominion University (ODU), where the DOVE project is housed, and historian Brian Daugherity of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), which serves as the host campus. Daugherity's book, With All Deliberate Speed, serves as a basic text for the workshop, along with selections from Elusive Equality: Desegregation and Resegregation in Norfolk's Public Schools, coauthored by visiting scholar Charles Ford, and from Black Teachers on Teaching (Michele Foster). Peter Wallenstein, professor of history at Virginia Polytechnic University, opens the workshop with an overview of the history of Virginia school segregation up through the Civil Rights Movement. Based in Richmond, the participants work with historians and archivists in the exploration of primary sources (recordings, papers, memoirs, court briefs) and secondary scholarship at sites including Virginia State University, where key documents on African-American teacher training are held; VCU's Voice of Freedom collection of oral and documentary resources on African-American education leaders; Moton School and Moton Museum, with exhibits of the strike, lawsuit, and lockout to prevent integration in Prince Edward County; two Kent County schools at the center of Green v. New Kent County (a Supreme Court case that set the stage for busing public school students across boundaries to achieve racial balance), and the Capitol Building and Virginia Civil Rights memorial in Richmond, among others.

Project fields:
African American History; History, Other; U.S. History

Program:
Landmarks of American History

Division:
Education Programs

Total amounts:
$176,322 (approved)
$175,098 (awarded)

Grant period:
10/1/2014 – 12/31/2015