On this day in 1958, Governor J. Lindsay Almond Jr. closed Lane High School and Venable Elementary School in Charlottesville rather than allow black kids and white kids to attend classes together. This was part of Virginia’s so-called Massive Resistance to public school desegregation, which came in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education (1954).
Our narrative of the Civil War tends to be triumphant—Battle Cry of Freedom, Final Freedom, Freedom’s Soldiers—but it’s worth remembering that this is where we were nearly one hundred years after freedom.
IMAGES: Governor J. Lindsay Almond, ca. 1958–1962 (Library of Virginia); black students entering Lane High School, Charlottesville, autumn 1959 (Charlottesville Daily Progress); the former Lane High School, now the Albemarle County Office Building, November 2008