VIRGINIA'S MASSIVE RESISTANCE by Benjamin Muse

VIRGINIA'S MASSIVE RESISTANCE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A commentator and contributor to The Reporter, Harper's etc., and director of the Southern Regional Council, an organization fighting racial discrimination, tells the story of the state of Virginia's resistance to the Supreme Court desegregation ruling in 1954. Virginia, in some ways more Northern than Southern, and with only one core area of heavy Negro population, took a stronger stand than might have been expected-at first with the Gray plan (and its escape clauses); then with its recourse to ""interposition"" (that each state can interpose its sovereignty between the federal government and its people), and finally with Byrd's hegemony of massive resistance (although its commitments were to fall on the new governor, Almond). Tracing the pattern of resistance from city to city and county to county, the reversal of attitude from belligerence and bewilderment- as many learned that keeping the schools open was more important than keeping them closed to Negroes, this makes Virginia a case in point and object lesson for the rest of the South. The ""dreadful alternative"" to desegregation is abandoning public education, and therefore this is the platform on which political leadership should be based. Muse's report concentrates on the political, not the social or moral, aspects of prejudice and it is intentionally restricted to an objective, factual account of these proceedings. This may limit its interest to the general reader.

Publisher: Indiana University Press