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ODU Libraries Online Exhibitions


November 1953

  • Blessed Sacrament School (a Norfolk parochial school) is the first all-white school in the region to enroll a black student.

March 1954

  • Rear Adm. T. B. Brittain, commanding officer of Norfolk Naval Base, requests that the Norfolk School Board integrate an elementary school on federal property. Other Navy facilities were already integrated.

May 17, 1954

Listen to Virginia Governor
Thomas B. Stanley's reaction
- transcript

  • Virginia Governor Thomas B. Stanley called for ''cool heads, calm, steady and sound judgment.'' (Library of Virginia, Radio in Virginia)
  • Norfolk School Superintendent J.J. Brewbaker proposed ''an intellectual rather than an emotional'' response.

June 26, 1954

  • U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, Sr., who essentially controlled Virginia politics, vows to stop integration plans in Virginia schools.

August 30, 1954

  • Governor Stanley appoints a 32-member, all-white Commission on Public Education to examine the effects of Brown v. Board on Virginia and plan a course of action. It is chaired by Senator Garland Gray of Sussex County.  

October 26, 1954

  • The State Corporation Commission certifies the "Defenders of State Sovereignty and Individual Liberties," an organization of segregationists and white supremacists formed primarily to preserve segregation in Virginia. (See article in the 1955 Virginia Record.)