A Mission to a Mad County: Black Determination, White Resistance and Educational Crisis in Prince Edward County, Virginia

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University of Massachusetts Amherst, 2007 - 652 pages
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This dissertation explores the high water mark of southern resistance to the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education: the five-year abolition of public education in Prince Edward County, Virginia. Through interrogating the "culture of civility" that guided this bureaucratic, legalistic strategy of defiance, it argues that both massive resistance and the unique trajectory of events in Prince Edward County are not the anomalies in Virginia history that state boosters suggest, but rather logically consistent outgrowths of a coherent political tradition known as "the Virginia Way." When blacks chose to step outside of the traditional channels of "managed race relations," white Virginians struck back in a manner consistent with their determination to maintain white supremacy without condoning a rise in vigilantism that might have threatened elites' control over the mechanisms of political power.

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