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Historical Timeline

map of Virginia, highlighting Prince Edward County


Virginia & the Nation

Prince Edward County


April 9 – Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox Court House


April 6 – Sailor's Creek, last battle of Virginia campaign in the Civil War

April 7 – Lee, then Grant, passes through Farmville

July – Freedmen's Bureau starts first school for blacks


First public schools in Virginia


First public schools in county open on segregated basis


Plessy v. Ferguson Supreme Court Case approves legally enforced segregation, establishing concept of "separate but equal"


W.E.B. DuBois visits Prince Edward County


Virginia Constitutional Convention disenfranchises most black voters

1920s- 1930s

Black community petitions for high school grades and better school facilities


NAACP legal battles for equalization in all aspects of education


Robert R. Moton High School built with PWA funding, one of only ten black high schools in rural Virginia



Tar paper buildings constructed at Moton High School to alleviate overcrowding


Sweatt v. Painter Supreme Court case changes NAACP legal strategy from equalization to desegregation





April 23 – Student strike at Moton High School

May 21 – First Prince Edward school court case filed, Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, Virginia



Three judge Federal panel rules against plaintiffs in Davis case. Ruling appealed by NAACP to the Supreme Court



New Moton High School built by county in effort for school facilities equalization to thwart school desegregation court case


May 17 – Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case rules "separate but equal" unconstitutional

June 25 – Governor Thomas Stanley states he will use all legal means to continue segregated school in Virginia




Oct – Defenders of State Sovereignty formed to preserve segregation in schools.


May 31 – Brown II Supreme Court case orders desegregation of schools "with all deliberate speed"

Dec 1 – Rosa Parks refuses to give up her seat on bus in Montgomery, Alabama


June – Prince Edward School Foundation formed to develop private school education program


Feb 25 – Senator Harry Byrd, Sr. calls for "massive resistance" to desegregation

March 12 – Senator Harry Byrd and Congressman Howard Smith of Virginia introduce the "Southern Manifesto" in U.S. Congress as a resolution condemning Supreme Court encroachment on states' rights

Sept – Massive Resistance legislation enacted in Virginia. State tuition grants created to support private segregation academy schools


More than 4,000 white citizens petition County asking not to be taxed to support integrated schools



May 3 – Prince Edward Board of Supervisors states that it will not appropriate money for desegregated schools


Sept – Central High School integrated, Little Rock, Arkansas



Sept – Massive Resistance laws invoked; 12,000 children out of school in Norfolk, Charlottesville, and Front Royal, Virginia



Jan – Courts strike down Virginia’s
Massive Resistance laws.

Feb – Public schools reopen and begin to desegregate in Arlington, Alexandria and Norfolk

Sept – Desegregated schools open without incident in Charlottesville, Virginia


May 9 – U.S. Court of Appeals orders Prince Edward to desegregate public schools by September 1

June 26 – Board of Supervisors close public schools after eight years of court cases and delays

Sept 10 – Public schools are closed and Prince Edward Academy is opened for white students


Feb 1 – Student lunch counter sit-in in Greensboro, North Carolina

Virginia General Assembly passes revised legislation for tuition grants to support segregation academy schools


American Friends Service Committee begins efforts to send students out of county for education

Prince Edward County passes local tuition ordinance to support private segregated education


May – Freedom Rider buses travel to South through Prince Edward County


Interracial group "Richmond Committee of Volunteers" begins educational and recreational activities for out-of-school children

Virginia Teachers Association organizes summer remedial education program in Prince Edward


University of Mississippi desegregated


March 28 – Martin Luther King, Jr. visits county

Dec – U.S. Dept. of Justice joins NAACP as friend of court in appeal of Prince Edward case

Hampton Institute, Harvard and Yale Universities organize summer education programs


Jan 1 – Centennial of the Emancipation Proclamation

April-May – demonstrations in
Birmingham, Alabama

June 11 – George Wallace makes stand in school door, University of Alabama

June 12 – Medgar Evers assassinated
in Jackson, Mississippi

Aug 28 – March on Washington

Sept 15 – Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombed in Birmingham, Alabama

Nov 22 – President John F. Kennedy
assassinated in Dallas, Texas


Feb 28 – President Kennedy addresses Prince Edward crisis in message to Congress

March 19 – Robert Kennedy speech, "Something must be done about Prince Edward County," Louisville, KY

Continuing legal battles in school desegregation and tuition grant court cases

Summer – Sit-in demonstrations for desegregated public facilities and reopening of public schools

American Federation of Teachers and students from Queens college organize summer educational programs

Kennedy Administration organizes the Free Schools Association for Prince Edward

Sept 16 – Free Schools Association begins classes; first formal schooling for black students since 1959


Jan 23 – 22nd Amendment ends poll tax in Federal elections

Freedom Summer voter registration drive

July 2 – President Lyndon Johnson signs the Civil Rights Act

Aug 5 – Cheney, Goodman & Schwerner murdered in Philadelphia, Mississippi

Aug 18 – NAACP files suit challenging
Virginia state tuition vouchers



May – Robert F. Kennedy visits Free Schools Association

May 24 – Griffin v. Board of Education of Prince Edward County Supreme Court case orders the reopening of Prince Edward County public schools

Aug – Free Schools Association ends eleven month program

Sept – Public schools reopen in Prince Edward after five years of being closed

Dec – Virginia tuition grants declared unlawful


March 7 –"Bloody Sunday" at Pettus
Bridge in Selma, Alabama

Aug 6 – Johnson signs Voting Rights Act


Continued black protest for adequate public school funding, black teachers, and black representation on the county school board




April 4 – Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinated in Memphis, Tennessee

May 27 – Green v. County School Board of New Kent County, Virginia Supreme Court case overturns "Freedom Of Choice" method of slowing public school desegregation. Produces first large scale public school desegregation in most Virginia localities



Tuition grants for segregated private education rulled unconstitutional by the federal court



April 20 – Swann v. Charlotte-Mecklenburg Board of Education Supreme Court case orders strong measures, such as busing and school pairing, to accomplish full school desegregation



Overcrowding at one county school the same as at Moton High School at the time of 1951 strike

County forced to increase public education budget by 48 percent in order to meet new minimum state standards


Milliken v. Bradley Supreme Court case limits use of desegregation methods to single jurisdictions


White students gradually return to public schools



October – Robert R. Moton High School is placed on the National Register of Historic Places



August – Moton High School is designated a National Historic Landmark by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, the highest level of historical recognition offered by the federal government



Robert R. Moton Museum opens in former Black high school

(Map Courtesy of McClintock & Derr Design)