Prince Edward County made no provision for the education of Black students, and their parents were forced to scramble, setting up classrooms in church basements and storefronts.
The closure was the latest strategy in a statewide campaign dubbed “Massive Resistance.” Earlier in the year, the Virginia legislature repealed the law requiring children to go to school.
“The only places on Earth known not to provide free public education are Communist China, North Vietnam, Sarawak, Singapore, British Honduras — and Prince Edward County, Virginia,” said Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, trying to shame Prince Edward County into reopening its schools. That took five years.
It’s an important story to know. Bigotry is primal, and those afflicted hurt not only others, but also themselves: limiting their own experience, discarding their own values, shutting their own schools.
The massive resistance continues. Tuesday’s key gubernatorial race in Virginia pivoted on race, with former Democratic governor Terry McAuliffe, who left office in 2018, losing to private equity manager Glenn Youngkin, a Republican who campaigned on the promise to keep critical race theory from being taught in Virginia schools.
Critical race theory isn’t taught in Virginia public schools. It’s a graduate-school level approach to history arguing that race intrudes upon just about everything in public life. Which of course it does, as evidenced by the Republican Party seizing the phrase as their latest code for keeping Black people down, their reductio ad absurdum argument being that if you teach an accurate history of race in America, well, it spoils everything.
To continue reading, click here.