THEY CLOSED THEIR SCHOOLS by Bob Smith
Kirkus Star

THEY CLOSED THEIR SCHOOLS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The story of Prince Edward County, Virginia is unique not only in the annals of the civil rights movement, but also in all of American history. It is the only case where the citizens chose to terminate public education rather than obey a Supreme Court decision. The county's schools stayed shut five years, and in Mr. Smith's opinion, the danger done to relations within the community, to its future, and most of all to the deprived children, was greater than any advantage that the objectors could possibly hope to gain. But the value of Mr. Smith's book does not lie in its quietly stated conclusions; rather, it rests with the fact that he has told the entire story straightforwardly, in the personal terms of the people who were involved. While he starts with the students' strike of 1951, he actually seeks answers far back in each person's past. This is not a brilliant book: there is not one really stirring, quotable passage, aside from the words of some of the participants. But the unassuming integrity and deeply felt, but still impartial, commitment of the author serve to provide a public hearing for a matter of public concern.

Publisher: Univ. of North Carolina Press