The myth that nothing need be done - other than that Black people stop their bad behaviour - grips the bulk of white America- and the United States Supreme Court. Reminders of just what we did are needed - north and south. - gwc
‘Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County,’ by Kristen Green - The New York Times
by Thomas Sugrue
On Sept. 10, 1959, black students in Prince Edward County, Va., watched as school buses full of white children rolled through the streets, delivering their charges to the newly opened Prince Edward Academy. To resist court-mandated desegregation, the local school board shuttered the public schools, but not before white volunteers stripped classrooms of desks, books, and supplies for the new academy. Local Jaycees ripped out the high school stadium’s goal posts and transplanted them to the white-only academy’s football field.
Kristen Green, who graduated from the Prince Edward Academy about three decades after it opened, returned to her hometown in 2006 to research the county’s controversial past. She blends history and memoir in a gripping narrative that revolves around her discovery that “Papa,” her beloved grandfather and a well-regarded local dentist, was a segregationist who played a key role in the decision to shut the public schools.
Today, the majority of students in Prince Edward’s public schools are black; but only 5 percent of the private academy’s are. Prince Edward County is no longer the backwater it was in 1959, but there is still little support for the public schools, little will to undo decades of unequal education. Separate and unequal has a new face in Prince Edward County today, with liberty and sovereignty for some.
SOMETHING MUST BE DONE ABOUT PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY
A Family, a Virginia Town, a Civil Rights Battle
By Kristen Green
Illustrated. 320 pp. Harper. $25.99.