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The Massive Resistance and how it Failed Essay

After the supreme court case Brown v. Board of Education ruled that public schools in the United States were to be desegregated, Senator Harry S. Byrd of Virginia led a movement called the massive resistance, which aimed to prevent any sort of integration in the school system. Although at first the ruling in the case did not specify some time frame by which schools were to be desegregated, eventually the government became more adamant about educational integration.

Byrd began the movement in February of 1956, two years after Brown v. Board. This movement basically aimed to continue some form of the Jim Crow laws, which denied African Americans of their rights, some of which were guaranteed by the constitution. Byrd eventually gained support of the Virginia General Assembly, and passed laws that prevented integrated schools from receiving state funds, giving schools incentive to remain segregated.

The NAACP campaigned for integration in Washington D. C., and by 1958, federal law required schools in certain cities and counties in the state of Virginia to integrate immediately. The Governor of Virginia then ordered some of these schools to close, further prolonging integration. But some white families went to the U. S. Supreme Court, because their children were denied education by the closings, and the court ordered schools to reopen. Ultimately, the intent of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment was honored, and schools were federally required to integrate everywhere.

The NAACP suing the state of Virginia on the grounds that it was not upholding the Brown v. Board ruling, and the intervention of the federal government overpowered the prejudices of Virginia’s figures of authority, and the massive resistance to integration failed.

Works Cited Boydston, Jeanne. Lewis, Jan. McGurr, Michael. Making a Nation: The United States and Its People. Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 2003.


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