THE SCHOOL CLOSING did not surprise Lenoir Chambers and his staff. The Pilot had anticipated the possibility that the inflexibility of the state's massive-resistance policies would result in such a crisis. Chambers wrote,*"The Virginian--Pilot is the only newspaper in Virginia which has opposed from 1954--because of their impracticality, unconstitutionality, general lack of wisdom, and inevitable arrival at educational dead-ends--virtually everything that has been attempted in Virginia."1
The Virginian-Pilot held that the school closing was the logical result of the state's policy of resistance to the Supreme Court order. Chambers contended that massive-resistance legislation ultimately would be overturned by the courts and would do nothing to stave off integration. Massive resistance, he wrote, was the irresponsible invention of a "small coterie of political leaders" (the Byrd organization) and was based on a number of false clichés and shibboleths.2 Arguments by segregationists that the Supreme Court's order could legally be disobeyed, that states' rights must be defended or forever lost, and that outsiders were to blame for Virginia's racial problems were dismissed by the Pilot as specious and misleading.3
The editor decried the destruction of the state's system of public education and cautioned that newly created private schools and informal tutoring groups would be grossly inadequate substitutes for public schools. Trained teachers would be difficult to locate, the acquisition of facilities and educational equipment would be problematic, and accreditation of the substitute schools would be difficult to obtain.4
The Pilot refused to endorse the segregationist Tidewater Educational Foundation and recommended that parents enroll their children in tutoring groups, despite their obvious shortcomings. The editorial staff wrote that the Tidewater Educational Foundation's "political coloration strip[ped] its____________________
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Publication information: Book title: Standing before the Shouting Mob:Lenoir Chambers and Virginia's Massive Resistance to Public-School Integration. Contributors: Alexander Leidholdt - Author. Publisher: University of Alabama Press. Place of publication: Tuscaloosa, AL. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 4.
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