In Pursuit of a Mandate
Norfolk's was not the only educational system effected by Virginia's school closing laws: Schools in Prince Edward County, Charlottesville, and, to a lesser extent, Arlington and Front Royal were closed as well. But Norfolk was by far the largest scale test of the state's Massive Resistance plan to replace integrated public institutions with a system of private, segregated academies, financed in part by public funds (for details about Massive Resistance elsewhere in Virginia see Muse 1961; Smith 1965; Eley 1976). There was never any question that Prince Edward County, the birthplace of the Defenders of State Sovereignty and Individual Liberties, would prove how well Massive Resistance could work on a small scale. There the Defenders were a well organized and respectable segment of the community; when Blacks moved to desegregate the only public high school in the county, Prince Edward Academy opened its doors to most of the county's white secondary students. Even when the public school was finally reopened after years of litigation (the Prince Edward suit had been a part of the Brown v. Board of Education decision), most of the county's white students continued on at the Academy.