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Southern school news. (Nashville, Tenn.) 1954-1965, April 01, 1960, Image 8

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PAGE 8—APRIL I960—SOUTHERN SCHOOL NEWS VIRGINIA New ‘Massive Resistance’ Proposal Narrowly Defeated Virginia Segregation -Desegregation Status Number of districts, 129: 128 biracial; 6 desegregated. Total state enrollment: 617,349 white; 203,229 Negro. Enrollment of desegregated districts: 74,606 white; 21,735 Negro. Enrollment of 19 desegregated schools: 21,383 white; 103 Negro. Enrollment by desegregated districts and by schools: White Negro Alexandria 11,466 white, 1,879 Negro Hammond High 1,827 3 Wm. Ramsay Elem. 592 6 Theo. Ficklin Elem. 244 2 Minnie Howard Elem. 500 5 Arlington County 21,696 white, 1,756 Negro Washington-Lee High 2,489 4 Stratford Jr. High 1,047 17 Patrick Henry Elem. 640 2 Charlottesville 3,053 white, 1,180 Negro Lane High 750 3 Venable Elem. 450 8 Floyd County 2,314 white, 118 Negro Floyd High 355 9 Check High 201 4 Norfolk 33,517 white, 16,509 Negro Norview High 2,151 7 Granby High 2,361 1 Maury High 2,206 3 Norview Jr. High 1,604 5 Blair Jr. High 1,263 2 Northside Jr. High 1,559 1 Suburban Park Elem. 727 2 Warren County 2,560 white 293 Negro Warren Co. High 417 19 TOTALS 21,383 103 RICHMOND, Va. fforts to revive the policy of “massive resistance” to inte gration were narrowly defeated in the Virginia General Assembly. (See “Legislative Action.”) The 35-year-old Byrd organiza tion split during the legislative session in a fight over Gov. Lind say Almond’s fiscal recommenda tions. Those who fought the gov ernor this time were substantially the same group who opposed his “freedom of choice” school pro gram last year. (See “Political Ac tivity.”) The General Assembly adopted laws to facilitate the operation of private schools and it called for a federal con stitutional amendment to give states full authority over public schools. But the Assembly defeated by a two-vote mar gin an effort to resurrect the policy of “massive resistance.” The crucial vote was on a bill intro duced by Del. James M. Thomson of Alexandria. Here is the background: When the General Assembly met in special session last summer to consider the segregation crisis, Gov. Almond told the legislators that there was no way to maintain total segregation except by closing the public schools, which he said the people of Virginia did not want to do. He recommended a local option plan, which, among other things, would allow localities to take themselves out from under the control of the State Pupil Placement Board and to set up their local placement boards if they so de sired. OPPONENTS DELAY That recommendation passed the House of Delegates last year 53 to 46 and got through the Senate without a vote to spare—20 to 19. Opponents were strong enough to delay the effective date of the law until March 1,1960, hop ing that the General Assembly, which would then be in session, might reverse last year’s vote. (See Southern School News, May 1959). The Thomson bill represented the ef fort to reverse the earlier vote. It would have delayed the law’s effective date for two years. The measure squeaked through the House 50 to 49, and it came out of a Senate committee 10 to 6. But it was killed on the Senate floor. Democrats in the Senate split 19 to 19 on the bill. The two Republicans in the Senate held the balance of power and they voted against it. Some observers took the view that passage or defeat of the bill actually was not of great practical importance, since integration has occurred by fed eral court order in six Virginia localities —and presumably would occur in the future in other localities—despite the State Pupil Placement Board’s attempt to maintain total segregation. These ob servers viewed the fight over the bill as primarily a test of political power (See “Political Activity”) and as primarily involving a symbolic expression of state policy. LOCAL BASIS In any event, localities that don’t like the state board’s rigid segregation stand now may get out from under the con trol of that body and assign pupils on a local basis, even in the absence of court integration orders. However, because of the time required to get a local assignment plan in opera tion, it appeared that no localities would be likely to have such a plan ready in time to handle assignments for the 1960- 61 school year. Apparently the state board will continue in full control (sub ject to by-passing by federal courts) for another school year. OTHER ACTIONS Other actions by the Assembly in cluded: • Adoption of a bill authorizing local governing bodies to appropriate money to private school groups “for educational purposes.” • Adoption of a bill authorizing lo calities to permit taxpayers to deduct contributions to nonsectarian private schools from real estate and personal property tax levies, with a maximum OPPOSE TAX State Sens. Godwin and Byrd deduction of 25 per cent of the tax due. • Adoption of a revised system for al locating state funds as tuition grants for children attending schools other than the ones to which they normally would be assigned. Under the new law the state will put up $125 for eligible ele mentary pupils and $150 for eligible high school pupils. For most localities, the new system means more state money than under the old formula, which va ried from locality to locality. • Amending the “blank paper” voter registration law, which precipitated such a fight in the 1958 session of the Assembly. (See Southern School News, March 1958.) This law, as enacted two years ago for the purpose of making it difficult for Negroes to register, provided that would-be registrants would simply be handed a blank sheet of paper and that they would have to write down in prop er order all the information required by law. However, the law boomeranged in that Negro organizations instructed Ne groes in how to provide the information, while many whites found the law a bar to registering. As amended in the recent session, local registrars may now pro vide forms with printed questions to be answered by applicants, although lo calities may continue using the blank paper system if they wish. • Allocation of funds for a $350 pay raise for teachers—$150 next year and $200 additional the following year. • Adoption of a resolution asking Congress to call a convention to consid er a constitutional amendment that would spell out the right of states to control their public school systems. • Killing of a resolution seeking to nullify the Supreme Court’s desegre gation decision of 1954. The measure was approved by the House 49 to 46 but died in a Senate committee. • Killing of a bill under which the General Assembly itself would have taken over pupil assigning for the en tire state. • Killing of a bill which would have created a state interracial commission. Democratic legislators who normally stand side-by-side as members of the unofficial political organization headed by U.S. Sen. Harry Byrd, broke into two sharply opposing camps in a fight over Gov. Almond’s fiscal program dur ing the recent Assembly session. Prominent in the anti-Almond faction was State Sen. Harry Byrd Jr., of Win chester. The governor said that “the composi tion of the vote and the leadership shows a direct correlation between the revenue fight and the school issue.” The anti-Almond group succeeded in killing the governor’s recommendation for a general sales tax, but they failed in an effort to reduce the size of his recommended budget. The governor charged that the oppo sition to his program was led by State Sen. Byrd, Sen. Mills E. Godwin Jr. of Suffolk, and Speaker of the House E. Blackburn Moore. He said that this faction had “ruth lessly trampled upon the rights of the people” and that they had tried “a po litical power thrust” which failed. BYRD ANSWERS In answer, State Sen. Byrd said, in part: “The governor seems to think that legislators are elected to take orders from him. As I see it, my duty as a senator is to study carefully the pro posals submitted to the Legislature and then to vote my convictions. I have an obligation to those whom I represent. Those who elected me to the Senate were overwhelmingly opposed to the Almond general sales tax and so indi cated to me. This was also my individual judgment.” Sen. Godwin said that judging from the Almond comments, “it is apparent the governor dislikes for anyone to dis agree with him.” He said he had “no apology to offer for my part in defeating his (Almond’s) sales tax proposals.” The governor also issued a charge— later retracted—that the resignation of the three members of the State Pupil Placement Board (See Southern School News, March 1960) was timed to influ ence legislators to vote for Del. James M. Thomson’s bill to delay the effective date of the law permitting localities to withdraw from under the board’s con trol. He said that Thomson admitted dur ing the debate in the House that no as signment board could overrule a federal court order. He added that when he (Almond) made a similar admission be fore the General Assembly last year he was called a “traitor.” DELAY RESIGNATIONS A week after making the charge con cerning the Placement Board resigna tions, Gov. Almond met with the three members and then announced that all three had agreed to remain in their posts until June 1, at which time the resignations would be accepted. He also issued a statement saying, in part: “I was in error in ascribing any mo tive to the board other than a desire on the part of each and every member to be relieved of the heavy duties and re sponsibilities which have been incum bent upon them.” The board, meanwhile, continued making pupil assignments, all of them on a segregated basis. Virginia Negroes stepped up their campaigns for desegregation of various types of facilities, with these results: PETERSBURG Petersburg Negroes directed their ma jor efforts at desegregating the city’s public library. The library was given to the city in 1923 by Mrs. Clara J. McKenney. The deed stipulated that the basement was to be used exclusively by Negroes and the first and second floors by whites, and that the property would revert to the donor or her heirs if this arrange ment were not followed. The library was closed for the first three days of March after 140 students from Virginia State College and Pea body High School demonstrated there for desegregation. During the period when the library was closed, City Council rejected the students’ request for desegregation and then adopted an ordinance prohibiting trespassing on city-owned or adminis tered property. On March 7, 11 Negroes attempted to use sections of the library reserved for whites and were arrested under the new ordinance. On March 15 they were found guilty in Municipal Court. Two clergymen and a student received fines and jail sen tences and the other eight received fines only. All were released on bond pend ing hearing of their cases on appeal in April. SUFFOLK The Woolworth store in Suffolk be came the first store in the state to de segregate its lunch counter in the wake of Negro demonstrations. The counter was open to persons of both races after the seats hdd been re moved. WITHOUT SCHOOLS About 600 Negro teachers of the fourth district of the Virginia Teachers Asso ciation, meeting in Petersburg, called upon the federal government “to pro vide adequate education for all chil dren” in Prince Edward County. Negro pupils in the county are currently with out schools. Four of the projected 10 training cen ters for Negro children in Prince Ed ward County were in operation by the end of March. Negro leaders said they expected additional centers to open soon. Most Negro children in Prince Ed ward have been receiving no formal education this school year, as the coun ty’s public school system was aban doned by the Board of Supervisors last year to avoid integration. The training centers provide instruction in certain basic academic subjects, along with recreation, but they are not intended to serve as schools, Negro leaders ex plain. Two top administrators of Charlottes ville’s segregated private school system were fired March 26. Both men had re signed earlier, effective Aug. 31, because of dissatisfaction with proposed changes in the program next year. Dismissed were Arthur D. Barfield, Jr., education director for the Char lottesville Educational Foundation, and Arthur L. Ribble, director of instruction at the Rock Hill Academy. According to President Henry B. Gor don of the CEF, Barfield engineered a press release in which Ribble and Prin cipal Walter Flora announced their res ignation on grounds that they were dis satisfied with next year’s proposed school program. Flora later said he would reconsider his resignation, and the board Saturday praised his work. Barfield denied giving reporters the story of Ribble’s and Flora’s resigna tions. Rock Hill Academy has an enrollment of 314 students, who pay an annual tui tion fee of $250. LEGAl ACTION Eighteen Negro students have filed suit for admission to Pulaski High School in the far western part of the state. The students, who now attend Chris- tiansburg Institute, applied for enroll ment at Pulaski High for the 1959-60 year but their applications were turned down, according to the petition filed with U. S. District Judge Roby C. Thompson. # # # NEGRO TRAINING CENTERS OPEN AT PRINCE EDWARD The Rev. L. F. Griffin Watches Children in Farmville Church Basement