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Floyd County was the second Virginia community to experience school desegregation for the first time in 1959–60. It is in the southwestern part of the State and has a relatively small Negro population. On September 23, 1959, a Federal judge ordered admission of 13 Negro students to the county's 2 formerly white high schools effective January 25, 1960.138 Before this there had been no high school serving Negroes within the county. On November 12, 1959, the school board assigned the pupils pursuant to the court's order, but the outcome was doubtful for a while because the county board of supervisors passed a fund cutoff ordinance under which it could close schools on short notice. Nevertheless, on January 25, 1960, the 12 Negro pupils entered the high schools without incident, no action having been taken by the county board of supervisors to close the schools.
The third district, Pulaski County, which, like Floyd, is in the southwestern section of the State where the Negro population is small, desegregated initially in September 1960 when a Federal court ordered the admission of 14 Negro pupils to one of the county's 2 high schools.139 Before this there was no high school available to Negro pupils within the county. The 14 Negroes were enrolled in school with 1,231 white pupils.
The one high school of the city of Galax in Grayson County was desegregated in September 1960 under unusual circumstances in that the seven Negro students admitted to Galax High School were residents of Grayson County outside the city. They were ordered admitted to the school by a Federal court which declared that under the contract between Galax City and Grayson County, Negro students were entitled to the same treatment as white students similarly situated.0 They were enrolled in the school with 613 white students. 14
Desegregation suits were pending against two of the three school districts, the City of Richmond and Fairfax County—where Negro pupils were voluntarily assigned by the State Pupil Placement Board to formerly white schools for the first time effective for the fall term of 1960. Two public schools were also desegregated in Roanoke by action of the board although no suit is known to have been pending there." These were the first voluntary assignments of Negro pupils to formerly white schools by the board since its creation in 1956.
Suit was filed in September 1958 143 to desegregate the public schools of Richmond, but it was not until September 1960 that the State Pupil Placement Board assigned 2 Negroes to a school attended by 766 white
The desegregation reportedly took place without incident. Richmond is, at the writing of this report, the only one of Virginia's desegregated school districts in which the Negro public school population exceeds the white. As of November 1960 the public schools of Richmond enrolled 17,980 white, and 22,164 Negro pupils."
Fairfax County, which has a very small Negro population, was desegregated in August 1960 when the State Pupil Placement Board assigned five Negro pupils to formerly white elementary schools under the county's grade-a-year plan.146 But in September 1960 a Federal judge rejected the plan on the ground that 6 years after the Supreme Court decision in the School Segregation Cases, the 12-year plan was too slowin view of the small number of Negro pupils in the system. The Court ordered 19 addditional Negro pupils, plaintiffs in the desegregation suit, admitted to the appropriate grade at white or predominantly white schools.147 The 24 Negro pupils were scattered in 8 schools which have
8 a total white enrollment of 6,835 pupils.14 Immediately thereafter the Fairfax County School Board banned Negro participation in interscholastic sports.'
Suit was filed in behalf of two Negro students challenging the constitutionality of the resolution 150 and on February 21, 1961, the school board rescinded the ban.151
In the fall of 1960, 9 Roanoke Negro elementary and junior high school pupils entered 3 formerly white schools having a total enrollment of 1,770 white pupils by assignment of the State Pupil Placement Board.152 Mr. E. W. Ruston, Superintendent of Schools for Roanoke, in a written statement to the Commission for the Williamsburg conference reported that desegregation began in an orderly fashion and the school year got underway satisfactorily. On October 17, 1960, three of the nine Negro pupils were barred from attending a Roanoke Symphony Orchestra concert with their classmates.
West Virginia, like Missouri, has no official reports on progress in desegregation. All its school districts having Negro pupils announced a nondiscriminatory admission policy by the close of the school year 1958– 59,154 but in some areas of the State it is reported that Negro children do not seek transfer to white schools.155 The West Virginia Human Rights Commission (created in 1961) 156 may provide official information on the desegregation process in the future.
Table 2, appendix IV, shows by States the number of Negro pupils enrolled in school with whites in 1960-61.157
THE SEGREGATED STATES
Complete public school segregation has been maintained in Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Georgia.
Governor John Patterson of Alabama said in a news conference on December 7, 1960, that the riots in Little Rock and New Orleans were nothing compared to what might happen in his State if efforts are made to desegregate its schools. He told the news conference that there would be no way to avoid trouble “if the Federal Government continues its present approach.” He is further reported to have said that the people in Alabama "might as well make up their minds that they're going to have to go to private schools or shut down the schools,” if the Federal Government attempts to desegregate them.158 “I'll be one of the first ones stirring up trouble,” the Governor declared, at the same time emphasizing that he would not tolerate mob violence if it could be prevented.159
The decision in Shuttleworth v. Birmingham Board of Education 160 which upheld the constitutionality of the Alabama Pupil Placement Law (as distinct from its administration) on its face appears to have been interpreted by Alabama officials as a license to continue to operate schools on a segregated basis. All public schools in Alabama remain completely segregated. In June 1960 a suit was filed to enjoin the Birmingham Board of Education from operating segregated schools but no hearing has been set.
Governor Ross R. Barnett of Mississippi in his inaugural message on January 19, 1960, said: 161
Our people, both white and colored, throughout generations, have successfully operated a dual system of education because we know it is best for both races. I know that this is the best and only system and I believe that the thinking people of both races feel the same way about it. Regardless, our schools at all levels must be kept segregated at all costs.
Although the Supreme Court of the United States declared in 1954 that segregated education was "inherently unequal” and therefore inferior, it remains the only kind of education available to public school pupils in Mississippi. The public schools of the State are completely segregated; no public school desegregation suit is pending, or has ever been filed, in any court in that State. 162
The official attitude of South Carolina toward school desegregation is reflected in an observation of Olin D. Johnston, United States Senator from that State: 168
Our dual system of schools is the best in the Nation and the relationship we have between the races is the envy of those upon
whom integration has been forced. ... In the face of much unreality and great danger, there are those in our country who favor integration in our schools. . . . It is not good for the white children or the colored children. Both will lose if integration is forced upon us. ...
There is no "racial mixing" in the public schools of South Carolina, though 7 years have passed since the Supreme Court decision in Briggs v. Elliot, involving a district in that State 164 (one of the four School Segregation Cases. This in spite of the order on remand that school desegregation proceed with "all deliberate speed.” 165 A single desegregated on base school operated by the Federal Government represents the only racially mixed school in the State of South Carolina.
Georgia 166a is the only presently segregated Deep South State where there is any prospect for desegregation in the immediate future. Atlanta is under Federal court order to initiate desegregation on the 11th- and 12th-grade levels in September 1961.167 Mayor William B. Hartsfield of Atlanta predicated that desegregation would take place without major trouble: 168
There will be desultory efforts to cause trouble, mostly from outside of Atlanta by people who want to embarrass us. We have plans to deal with these promptly and decisively. We are not going to set any stages for demonstrations.
Governor Vandiver expressed similar views. He has said that he would use "whatever forces are necessary to keep order when the Atlanta schools are desegregated. Although the Governor is vehemently in disagreement with the Supreme Court's decision in the School Segregation Cases and thinks that it "was wrong at the outset and is still wrong today,” he added: 169
However, the city of Atlanta is under a court order, and no matter how much I might disagree with it, that court order in fact exists.
Unless the State of Georgia wants to secede from the United States and fire on Fort McPherson out here, we'll have to obey that
court order. (Fort McPherson, outside Atlanta, is the headquarters of the Third Army.]
The original desegregation order was to have become effective in the fall of 1960, but the court took notice of a Georgia law requiring the closing of nonsegregated schools. Postponing the effective date of the decree, the judge said that he was “making a sincere effort to enable the people of Georgia and its legislature to make a decision in this matter, if they so desire, that will prevent the closing of the schools. ..."
During the year of postponement two Negro pupils were admitted to the University of Georgia which was also subject to the State's schoolclosing law. After several unsuccessful legal maneuvers, Governor Vandiver spoke to a special joint session of the legislature where he conceded that Georgia's school-closing laws had “become an albatross.” He recommended a new package of laws that has since been adopted. The massive resistance measures were repealed and new ones enacted to provide for pupil placement, local option, and tuition grants. Mrs. Mary R. Green of HOPE (Help Our Public Education), a citizens' group whose purpose is to preserve free public schools in Georgia, testified at the Commission's Williamsburg conference that the interest shown by her group and others throughout Georgia was instrumental in the passage of the new legislation. 171
One hundred and thirty-four rith- and 12th-grade Negro pupils applied for transfer in September 1961 to formerly white schools in Atlanta before the deadline, May 15, 1961.17 The approval of 10 applications has been announced." Thirty-eight of the Negro students denied transfer appealed to the Atlanta board, as did one white student who sought transfer from a school to be desegregated. All were unanimously denied. 1734 The State Board of Education reversed the local board's action as to the white student by a divided vote. 1736
There is one desegregated school in Georgia that is operated by the Federal Government for schoolchildren of military personnel. The school is an on base school.174
Two large school districts in Texas are scheduled to begin desegregation in the fall of 1961. Dallas Independent School District, now the largest segregated school system in the country (enrollment 134,000 students, one-fifth of whom are Negro),175 is under Federal court order to deseg. regate on a grade-a-year basis beginning with the first grade. Galveston Independent School District is also under court order to desegregate in September 1961.16 School population of Galveston during the 1959–60 school year was 5,533 white, and 3,006 Negro pupils. Four small Texas school districts—Lockney, Judson, Andrews, and Yorktown