Date of Award

Spring 1989

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Director

James R. Sweeney

Committee Member

Peter C. Stewart

Committee Member

James L. Bugg

Call Number for Print

Special Collections LD4331.H47 F53


In 1958 Norfolk experienced one of the most serious crises in its long history when six of its public secondary schools were closed by the governor. The closings were a result of Virginia's massive resistance program and forced 10,000 students to seek alternative education for five months or abandon their education entirely. Interviews with major participants in the crisis as well as investigation of newspaper accounts and editorials, personal papers of participants, city and School Board documents, and major works on the period reveal the factors involved in Norfolk's peaceful approach to integration. A comparison with the situation in Little Rock also aids in evaluating Norfolk's response. The fact that Norfolk's schools did reopen peacefully reflects the unique nature of Norfolk among southern cities and the law-abiding tradition among the people and leaders of Virginia.


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