A matter of national concern: the Kennedy administration’s campaign to restore public education to Prince Edward County, Virginia

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Brian E. Lee (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Charles Bolton

Abstract: The Kennedy administration’s civil rights record requires revision. Scholars have developed a negative interpretation of that record by focusing on the most dramatic crises and a handful of poor judicial appointees. The dominant narrative, therefore, concludes that the administration reacted to civil rights crises, hesitated on advancing racial equality to protect the president’s domestic agenda from attack by southern legislators, and appointed racist federal judges. Those crises and judges do not fully represent the administration’s performance on civil rights. All matters for racial equality from that period and all of President Kennedy’s judicial appointees need to be examined to develop a comprehensive assessment of the administration’s record. "A Matter of National Concern” analyzes the Kennedy administration’s civil rights record through a case study of Prince Edward County, Virginia. This study synthesizes unpublished and, in some cases, previously unexamined manuscript collections, government documents, newspapers, periodicals, secondary sources, and oral histories. The historical record of the Kennedy administration’s performance in Prince Edward County counters the dominant narrative of President Kennedy’s civil rights record. In fact, the administration took proactive measures to arrest that county’s school crisis, risked its legislative program against southern legislators by standing up for black Prince Edwardians, and appointed moderate-to-progressive judges to the U.S. Fourth Circuit who broke down the county’s resistance to school desegregation. “A Matter of National Concern” calls for Prince Edward County, and other civil rights cases, to be included in the Kennedy administration’s civil rights record.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2015
Reverend L. Francis Griffin, John F. Kennedy, Massive resistance, Prince Edward County, Robert F. Kennedy, School desegregation
Public schools $z Virginia $z Prince Edward County
Segregation in education $z Virginia $z Prince Edward County
Educational equalization $z Virginia $z Prince Edward County
African Americans $x Education $z Virginia $z Prince Edward County
Civil rights movements $z Virginia $z Prince Edward County
School integration $x Massive resistance movement
United States $x Politics and government $y 1961-1963
Kennedy, John F. $q (John Fitzgerald), $d 1917-1963
Kennedy, Robert F., $d 1925-1968

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