A Virginia newspaper is expressing regret for supporting the state’s fight to maintain separate schools for blacks and whites in the 1950s.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch says in Thursday’s editorial that it played a central role in the “dreadful doctrine” of Massive Resistance _ a systematic campaign by Virginia’s white political leaders to block school desegregation. The newspaper says that “the record fills us with regret.”
The newspaper took the unusual step of promoting the editorial on its front page. It comes on the eve of a conference in Richmond marking the 50th anniversary of the end of Massive Resistance.
By Staff Reports
Published: July 16, 2009
Sometimes the era seems ancient; sometimes it resembles yesterday. Fifty years ago Virginia had a rendezvous with destiny and came up wanting. It scorned human rights and the promise of the Declaration of Independence and instead took a course known as Massive Resistance. Tomorrow at the Capitol, the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics will convene a conference on the chapter and its legacy.
Throughout the episode, Richmond Newspapers played a central role — but not a centering one. The hour was ignoble. Editorials in The News Leader relentlessly championed Massive Resistance and the dubious constitutional arguments justifying its unworthy cause. Although not so intimately engaged,………….Rest Found Here
Massive resistance was a policy declared by U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr. on February 24, 1956 to unite other white politicians and leaders in Virginia in a campaign of new state laws and policies to prevent public school desegregation after the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954. Although most of the laws created to implement Massive Resistance were negated by state and federal courts by January 1960, some policies and effects of the campaign against integrated public schools continued in Virginia for many more years……..