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Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward…

Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County: A Family, a Virginia… (2015)

by Kristen Green

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Well-intentioned story of dealing w white guilt. If you know no history of the civil rights movement then it is informative, otherwise you are better served reading any other book about the struggle for justice. ( )
  kallai7 | Mar 23, 2017 |
5393. Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County A Family, a Virginia Town, a Civil Rights Battle, by Kristen Green (read 24 Jul 2016) This is a very personalized account of the tragic decision of authorities in Prince Edward County to end public education for the children of the county and use money to set up a 'private' school for white kids only. The author's parents were in the 'private' school when they were growing up and in fact the author herself was in the same school, although by the time she was in school there was a public school for kids regardless of whether they were white or black I was dismayed anew to read of the viciousness of pro-segregation people toward those whites who opposed the actions of the segregationists.. And I found it good to read of the change that most of the people in Prince Edward County express today. The Board of Supervisors in 2008 resolved that what was done by it in 1959 was wrong and expressed grief for the evil done to the children by the actions of the Board and the whites in depriving the black kids of education in the 1960's.. ( )
1 vote Schmerguls | Jul 24, 2016 |
This is the story of a town in Virginia that decided long before the historic case of Brown v. Board of Education was decided that it would never allow segregation to occur in its schools and what the steps they were willing to take to achieve this goal. Instead of complying with the court orders surrounding this case, they simply closed the public schools and opened a private school for white children only. The result was years when black children were denied an education, as were white children too poor or lacking connections to also attend that private school. The author, presently in a biracial marriage, comes back to her hometown to look at those years, the effects those decisions had on so many involved and how her family in particular dealt with the times. While she is not proud of her family history and the tragedies that resulted from those decisions, she seems to have come to some understandings and acceptance of her family’s past. This is a very compelling look at a time period and community that handled things very poorly. ( )
  Susan.Macura | Nov 25, 2015 |
Following the Supreme Court’s 1954 decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, America’s public schools were instructed to work toward desegregation “with all deliberate speed”. However, in Prince Edward County, Virginia, the law was intentionally ignored through the closing of the county’s public schools. Rather than desegregate, White leaders in the community gathered together to keep the county’s public schools closed for close to a decade and ran a private, segregated academy in their place.

Rather than set aside knowledge of her family’s role in Prince Edward’s massive resistance, author Kristen Green writes Something Must Be Done… as a blend of her family’s history, the history of the town she grew up in, and a retelling of the events surrounding the creation of the county’s segregation academy. Though her efforts to set herself apart from her family’s history seem slightly overzealous at times, Green is not afraid to ask important and necessary questions, both of herself and the people around her.

One frustration I often have with historical nonfiction is a lack of connection between past and present, so I was pleasantly surprised to see Green highlighting the structural inequality in Richmond’s public school system—a truth I see reflected in my own Richmond neighborhood each day. While I would have loved to see the present-day examples expanded upon, particularly to include parallels between segregation academies and the modern voucher system, that topic has more than enough material for a book of its own. Recognizing that, Green finds balance in noting how problems of the past contribute to similar issues today while staying true to the focus of her book.

Both carefully researched and thoughtfully written, Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County is a timely look at a shrouded history from some of our country’s darkest days.

More at rivercityreading.com. ( )
  rivercityreading | Aug 10, 2015 |
And yet NOTHING was done in Prince Edward County, Virginia - NOTHING to educate black students for four years, from 1960 - 1964, as white supremacists shut down the public schools rather than educating all children together. In Farmville, home of the author, this disgraceful, illegal, shameful chapter in American history has only one hero: Barbara Rose Johns, who led a walkout of black students to protest the appalling conditions in their stable-like school.

Kristen Green, reporter, is in an awkward situation - she benefited from Brown v Board of Education when her grandfather and other town "leaders" founded Prince Edward Academy, a private "academy" for white students. Now grown, returned back to Farmville as a parent married to a bi-racial man, she sets about speaking to residents and family about the events of 60 years ago, and it still ain't pretty.

Quotes: "Kenneth B. Clark wrote a brief explaining the psychological harm to black children from living in what was essentially a caste system, suggesting that segregation creates a feeling of inferiority and humiliation that leads to self hatred and the rejection of their own race."

"People reveal their racist beliefs in Farmville the way they do in towns across America: when they are comfortable, when they think they are among like-minded people, particularly when they have a glass of alcohol in hand."

"A teacher told her students that buses were integrated not because of Rosa Parks but because white women wanted their maids back and were tired of being inconvenienced by the Montgomery bus boycott."

"We do not oppose education for Negroes. We just oppose integrated education."

" Doug retired with a master's in business administration, but all he accomplished, none of it erased what he had endured as a child. He always wondered, "Where would I be if I had gone to school for those four years. How much further would I be in life?"

"Where would I have been, " Ricky wondered, "if my foundation had been built?"

"The school did not integrate. Rather, it changed its admission policy."

"The apologies to students shut out of school have never been adequate. Sometimes the community reminds me of a child who expects everything to return to normal once he says he is sorry. In this way, the town never grew up."

"Because I attended an all-white school for so many years, I was long uncomfortable around people of color. I equated being black with being poor. People of any race other than white were a curiosity, and I stared."


This is as much of a must read as Ta-Nehisi Coates's love story to his son.

Please read, share, and challenge the minds of racists who say "I didn't do anything. I didn't own any slaves." ( )
  froxgirl | Aug 7, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0062268678, Hardcover)

Combining hard-hitting investigative journalism and a sweeping family narrative, this provocative true story reveals a little-known chapter of American history: the period after the Brown v. Board of Education decision when one Virginia school system refused to integrate.

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s unanimous Brown v. Board of Education decision, Virginia’s Prince Edward County refused to obey the law. Rather than desegregate, the county closed its public schools, locking and chaining the doors. The community’s white leaders quickly established a private academy, commandeering supplies from the shuttered public schools to use in their all-white classrooms. Meanwhile, black parents had few options: keep their kids at home, move across county lines, or send them to live with relatives in other states. For five years, the schools remained closed.

Kristen Green, a longtime newspaper reporter, grew up in Farmville and attended Prince Edward Academy, which did not admit black students until 1986. In her journey to uncover what happened in her hometown before she was born, Green tells the stories of families divided by the school closures and of 1,700 black children denied an education. As she peels back the layers of this haunting period in our nation’s past, her own family’s role—no less complex and painful—comes to light.

At once gripping, enlightening, and deeply moving, Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County is a dramatic chronicle that explores our troubled racial past and its reverberations today, and a timeless story about compassion, forgiveness, and the meaning of home.

(retrieved from Amazon Fri, 03 Jul 2015 21:13:41 -0400)

Combining hard-hitting investigative journalism and a sweeping family narrative, this provocative true story reveals a little-known chapter of American history-- the period after the Brown v. Board of Education decision when one Virginia school system refused to integrate.… (more)

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