As the kiddos have headed back to school, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about the history of education in America. Specifically, how race has played a factor in how children are educated.
Desegregating schools was a hot button issue in the mid-twentieth century that sparked civil disobedience, organizations, and lawsuits. While neatly discussed in most American grade school history courses, Brown vs Board of Education did not start or end the struggle to integrate schools. Battles over the school system in Farmville, Virginia had been raging since 1951, when students at the all black high school protested over conditions. A lawsuit was filed through the NAACP, and it went on to be one of the cases debated in Brown vs Board of Education. But what happened next after federally mandated desegregation- thanks to white parents of Prince Edward County- was disgusting and cruel. Watch the video below to discover how systemic racism affected an entire community. Be sure to check out the references as well!
The reopening of public schools in Prince Edward County didn’t bring immediate closure, however. Segregation academies like Prince Edward Academy stayed open, and public schools continued to experience insufficient funding.
Prince Edward County, Virginia, 30 Years After: “A Pretty Good Place to Live
When A Memoir Tells Half the Story: Prince Edward County and School Desegregation (Christopher Bonastia)
Prince Edward County’s Long Shadow of Segregation (Kristen Green)