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Introduction - School Desegregation in Norfolk, Virginia -- Digital Collection of the Old Dominion University Libraries

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Items in this digital collection were taken from the following ODU Libraries special collections relating to Massive Resistance and school desegregation in Norfolk, Virginia.

Archie L. Boswell Papers, 1958-1960.

Norfolk attorney who represented the plaintiffs in two important cases: the James v. Duckworth case was initiated to prevent the closing of all schools above 6th grade, which included black secondary schools; James v. Almond was initiated to reopen the Norfolk schools. Includes correspondence, briefs, trial proceedings, court papers, background material, and newspaper clippings. [Special Collections MG-59]


Henry E. Howell, Jr. Papers, 1948-1977.

Ran for the House of Delegates in 1959, an election in which the issue of Massive Resistance played a key role. Includes material relating to the campaign. Also contains material relating to the resister ticket of McKendree-Bonney-Sutton. [Special Collections MG-1]


Norfolk Public Schools Desegregation Papers, 1922-2006.

Includes correspondence, school board resolutions, inter-district memoranda, press releases, district maps, and school calendars from the late 1950s covering school closings, busing in the 1970s, and the end of busing in the mid-1980s. [Special Collections MG-92]


Paul T. Schweitzer Papers, 1957-1976.

A member of the Norfolk School Board (1952-1960) during the desegregation crisis and the Norfolk City Council (1960-1968). Collection includes correspondence and publications documenting the attitudes of Norfolk and the activities of the School Board during the school closings of 1958. Of note are the files of correspondence from people throughout the United States either supporting or criticizing his efforts to reopen the schools. [Special Collections MG-16]


A.E.S. Stephens Papers, 1949-1961.

Lieutenant Governor of the Commonwealth (1952-1961) during the Supreme Court's decision and the passing of the Massive Resistance legislation. Collection contains correspondence files dating to 1955 that document his attitude and the attitudes of Virginians across the commonwealth on the subject of segregated schools. [Special Collections MG-19]


Forrest P. White Papers, 1952-1963.

President and active member of the Norfolk Committee for Public Schools, organized to preserve the public school system of Norfolk and reopen the closed schools. Material includes both personal papers and the institutional records of the committee, including financial and legal records, correspondence, speeches, statements of purpose, position reports, letters to the editor, articles and newspaper clippings. [Special Collections MG-5]


Margaret White Papers, 1953-1976.

A teacher in the Norfolk school system during the desegregation crisis who was active in the effort to reopen the schools. Collection primarily relates to the CBS documentary, The Lost Class of '59 , of which Norfolk was the focus and the follow-up documentary by CBS, The Other Face of Dixie, a report on the situation of newly integrated schools. Includes correspondence, newspapers clippings, and magazine articles. [Special Collections MG-20]


Women's Council for Interracial Cooperation, 1945-1960.

Founded in 1945 as an interracial organization designed to address concerns with education, health, and housing among the Afro-American community. Includes correspondence, the organization's constitution, annual reports, minutes, speeches, programs, membership lists, pamphlets and booklets, magazine articles, newspaper clippings and photographs. [Special Collections MG-54]


Oral History Collection

Includes interviews with: Vivian Carter-Mason, the founder and active member of the Women's Council for Interracial Cooperation; A. Rufus Tonelson, principal of Maury High School during the crisis; Mark Schweitzer, the son of Paul T. Schweitzer; Ruth James, lead litigant in the court cases initiated to reopen Norfolk's closed schools; and, Edith White, the wife of Forrest P. White. Search Category: Massive Resistance in the Oral History digital collection.


Other ODU Collections

The Papers of Stanley Clay Walker (MG-28), Norfolk School Board Member in 1959, and the Papers of William Frederick Duckworth (MG-45), former mayor of Norfolk, also contain materials relating to massive resistance and school desegregation.


Massive Resistance Printed Materials, 1958-1960 (MG-98) consists of 20 folders of regional and national newspaper clippings covering the Massive Resistance movement and public reaction to the desegregation and subsequent closing of some of Norfolk’s public schools. Also discussed are state and local politicians such as Governor Lindsay Almond, Jr., who ordered the closing of Norfolk schools that enrolled African-American students, and Mayor William Fred Duckworth, who opposed desegregating the public schools. Some of the clippings discuss the fate of those students whose graduation was put in jeopardy by the school closing, known as "The Lost Class of '59."


Related Collections

The Virginia Heritage Project (VHP) of the Virtual Library of Virginia (VIVA) has identified materials in Virginia university collections related to the political aspects of massive resistance and/or massive resistance as it relates to other counties in Virginia, primarily Prince Edward County whose schools were closed for five years (Link). 


The Virginia Historical Society and other agencies have made materials available digitally, many commemorating the 50th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education.


The materials in our collection enhance existing digital collections, creating a broader view of Virginia’s school desegregation process because many of our collections introduce a more personal and subjective focus. 


rev. 11/15/2013

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