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ERIC Number: ED002043
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: N/A
Pages: 32
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: N/A
ISSN: N/A
CRISIS IN NORFOLK.
REIF, JANE
THE SCHOOL CRISIS IN NORFOLK, VIRGINIA, LASTED 5 MONTHS DURING WHICH TIME 10,000 CHILDREN WERE DENIED EDUCATION BECAUSE OF CLOSED SCHOOLS. FEWER THAN 4,500 STUDENTS WENT TO MAKE-SHIFT TUTORING GROUPS, 1,600 OF THEM TRANSFERRED TO SCHOOLS OUTSIDE THE CITY. SCHOOL CLOSING DISRUPTED FAMILY LIFE, WEAKENED COMMUNITY RELATIONS, AND HURT BUSINESS. THE MOST SIGNIFICANT FAILURE IN THE NORFOLK SCHOOL CRISIS WAS THAT OF ESTABLISHED LEADERSHIP. VIRGINIA'S GOVERNOR HAD MADE IT CLEAR IN HIS GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN THAT PUBLIC SCHOOLS WOULD BE CLOSED BEFORE THEY WOULD BE ALLOWED TO OPEN AS INTEGRATED INSTITUTIONS. YET MOST PEOPLE WERE RELUCTANT TO FACE THE FACT THAT INTEGRATION WAS UPON THEM AND THAT THE STATE POLICY REPRESENTED AN IMPENDING DANGER TO PUBLIC EDUCATION. IN THE SUMMER OF 1958, BEFORE THE CRISIS IN THE FALL, A HANDFUL OF MEN AND WOMEN, WHO LATER FORMED THE NORFOLK COMMITTEE FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION, WENT TO THE MAYOR TO DISCUSS THE COMING SCHOOL SITUATION. ALTHOUGH GREETED WITH ACCEPTANCE AND GOOD WILL, THESE PEOPLE WERE TOLD THAT IT WAS NOT YET TIME FOR THE APPEARANCE OF A PUBLIC EDUCATION GROUP. EVEN THOUGH THEY HAD NEVER INTENDED TO ACCEPT FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE MOVEMENT, THE RANK AND FILE, MIDDLE-CLASS MEMBERS OF THE NORFOLK COMMITTEE FOR PUBLIC EDUCATION BECAME THE LEADERS, WHILE THE ELECTED POWER STRUCTURE SAT IN SILENCE. BACKED BY THE LEGAL DECISIONS OF THE FEDERAL COURT, THE TEACHERS WHO REFUSED TO JOIN THE SEGREGATIONIST PRIVATE SCHOOL MOVEMENT AND THE MINISTERS AND BUSINESSMEN WHO SPOKE OUT SUCCEEDED IN OPENING THE SCHOOLS IN FEBRUARY 1959.
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: N/A
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: Virginia Council on Human Rights, Richmond.
Identifiers: RICHMOND