This book is about finding a way forward through reconciliation. Kristen Green writes a compelling book about a tragic and terrible part of Virginia’s history. There are many Virginians who don’t know the story of what happened in Prince Edward County or that plaintiffs from Moton High School were part of the Brown v. Board of Education case decided by the Supreme Court in 1954 that declared school segregation to be unconstitutional.
The author discovered that her grandfather was instrumental in the massive resistance movement that closed all the public schools and created a whites only private academy. Black school children were shut out of getting a public education from 1959 to 1964 while Green’s own parents attended the private all white academy funded by “tuition grants” paid out of county tax money. Her own education and that of her brothers was also in that same private academy. Her sense of guilt and her search for meaning is palpable throughout the entire book. I believe that in researching and writing this book, she is engaging in an act of atonement.
For those who have seen the Civil Rights memorial at the Virginia State Capitol, just a short distance from the Governor’s Mansion, you will recognize the name Barbara Johns who led a student walkout at Moton High School in 1951. The former Robert Russa Moton High School is now a Civil Rights Museum in Farmville – the only Civil Rights museum in Virginia. Quite ironically, the only Vice-Presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence will be held at Longwood University on Oct. 4th, just down the street from the Moton Museum.
The additional twist? That Civil Rights monument at the state capitol honoring Barbara Johns and acknowledging what happened in Prince Edward County was unveiled in 2008 by then Governor Tim Kaine.Read More