Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

A Dream Deferred?

Academic journal article The Virginia Quarterly Review

A Dream Deferred?

Article excerpt

INTEGRATED EDUCATION IN AMERICA

I have chosen to begin my first issue as editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review with a special portfolio of work on a subject dear to my predecessor: integrated education. Staige D. Blackford first made a name for himself in March 1952 when, as a graduating senior and editor of the University of Virginia's student newspaper the Cavalier Daily, he penned an editorial arguing in favor of integrating the University. he wrote: "We do not believe that a man's intellectual ability is determined by the color of his skin. We do not believe an aristocracy of intellect is composed of one race. We believe the essence of a democratic educational system to consist in allowing unseparated opportunities for all men regardless of their race, color, or creed."

Blackford did not stop at mere ideology. From 1962 to 1964 he worked as the director of research for the important civil rights organization the Southern Regional Council in Atlanta. At the end of that turbulent decade Blackford was tapped to become press secretary and speechwriter for Governor A. Linwood Holton, the leader who would finally bring an end to Virginia's "massive resistance" to integration. Blackford was shaving at his in-laws' on Christmas morning 1969, just days before Holton's inauguration, when it suddenly dawned on him that the new governor would take his oath on the steps of the old capitol of the Confederacy. …

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