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Uriah J. Fields

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CITY COUNCIL'S APOLOGY FOR MASSIVE RSISTANCE ACCEPTED
by Uriah J. Fields   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Monday, October 19, 2009
Posted: Monday, October 19, 2009

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The City of Charlottesville, Virginia, closed its public schools rather than to integrate them fifty years ago. On the fiftieth anniversary of the closing of these schools the City Council offers an apology for the role its predecessors played in the school closing.

CHARLOTTESVILLE CITY COUNCIL'S APOLOGY FOR MASSIVE RESISTANCE ACCEPTED
By Uriah J. Fields

The Charlottesville City Council on October 5, 2009, fifty years after schools in Charlottesville, Virginia were closed despite the U.S. Supreme Court ordering school integration, unanimously approves a resolution apologizing for the role their predecessors played in closing the schools. The12 students who first integrated these schools will receive copies of the resolution.

Nearly two years after the landmark U.S. Supreme Court "Brown v. Board of Education" 1954 decision mandating school integration, the Southern Manifesto, a document written in February-March 1956 and signed by 19 U.S. Senators and 82 members of the House of Representative from Virginia and 10 other Southern states opposed to racial integration in public places, including public schools. On September 19, 1958 Virginia's Governor James Linsey Almond, Jr., ordered that Lane High School and Venable Elementary School be closed rather than integrate.

U. S.District Judge John Paul ordered on September 5, 1959, that 12 black students attend these two schools.

It is important to note and worthy of commendation that in this apology members of the City Council, namely, Mayor Dave Norris, David Brown, Holly Edwards, Satyendra Huja and Julian Taliaferro, have acknowledged the role their predecessors played in closing these schools, despite the fact 101 legislators in the U.S. Congress and the Governor of Virginia were at the forefront of Massive Resistance. Commenting on the resolution the Mayor said, "We not only acknowledge those students and their family members but the community at large who suffered injustice."

On behalf of African Americans in Charlottesvile in particular and all people in this City and Albemarle County who subscribe to justice, I, the undersigned, accept the Council's apology, even though at the time these schools were closed I resided in Montgomery, Alabama where I had struggled to register to vote, even though I was a veteran of the Korean War, and was helping other African Americans to get registered to vote with little success. I feel that I was no less a part of the black experience in Charlottesville than blacks who lived in Charlottesville. Again, graciously I accept your apology. Thank you.

Signed: Uriah J. Fields

(A copy of this article was an attachment to a letter sent to the Charlottesville City Council).

{Uriah J. Fields was original secretary of the Montgomery Improvement Association that provided organizational leadership for the Montgomery Bus Boycott.}

Copyright 2009 by Uriah J.Fields

 

Web Site: uriahfields.com



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Uriah J. Fields



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