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After the Schools Reopened

February 5, 1959

  • Governor Almond appoints the Perrow Commission to make recommendations to safeguard segregated schools in Virginia.¬†Their recommendations, submitted on March 31, 1959, were to assure that "no child will be forced to attend a racially mixed school." See full report. Among the recommendations "to bring about the greatest possible¬†freedom of choice for each locality and each individual:"
    • Tuition grants
    • A flexible pupil placement plan
    • A compulsory attendance law
    • Local budgetary changes


  • Governor Almond orders all schools to integrate.
  • Norfolk receives "All American City" award, granted by LOOK Magazine and the National Municipal League.
  • Desegregation stalls. By the end of the 60s, the vast majority of Norfolk schools remained either 90 percent white or 90 percent black, with 10 schools all white, and 19 all black.


  • Mandatory busing is a new approach to desegregation; one result is "white flight" from Norfolk's public schools. In 1975, Judge McKenzie declared Norfolk schools "unitary."


  • Elementary school busing ends in 1986, causing a return to neighborhood schools and resegregation. Norfolk was the first city in the country to end busing in grades K-5.


  • Middle school busing ends; segregation continues.


  • City of Norfolk honors the Norfolk 17 for their courage and determination.


  • Norfolk School Board considers proposal to end high school busing.

2008: July 6

  • "Freedom Sunday" at First Baptist Church, Bute Street, honors the Norfolk 17 and celebrates the 50th anniversary of Norfolk's school desegregation.


  • Many celebrations in Norfolk on the 50th anniversary of the opening of Norfolk Public Schools and the end of massive resistance.
After the Schools Reopened