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Ken Woodley's new book recounts a local history of reparations in Virginia

Historians in the News
tags: African American history, Virginia, reparations, civli rights



In 1979, a 22-year-old reporter named Ken Woodley graduated from college and moved home to Prince Edward County, Virginia, for a job at a family owned local newspaper, the Farmville Herald. Soon after, as he recalls in his memoir, The Road to Healing: A Civil Rights Reparations Story in Prince Edward County, Virginia, he was sitting at his desk when a local woman passing through the office hurled a question at him: "You know what happened here, don't you?"

Woodley didn't know what the woman meant, but he soon found out. In 1954, the Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Board of Education, after which Prince Edward County, along with every other county in America, was ordered to end the racially segregationist practice of "separate but equal" public education. The presumption was that schools would integrate.

In Virginia, however, white leaders came up with a new plan, one that they called Massive Resistance. Rather than ending segregation, they shut down public education altogether, diverting much of the relevant public funding to vouchers that white students could use at all-white private schools.

Read entire article at Pacific Standard

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