Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-xiii

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Introduction

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pp. 1-7

The most popular vignettes in the history of Norfolk, Virginia, usually consist of the yellow fever disaster of 1855, Civil War and world war tributes, urban renewal, and, of course, the school closures crisis of 1958–59. These stories are the first to be related to newcomers and tourists, ...

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Chapter One. Discrimination and Dissent: Norfold under the old Dominion, 1938-1954

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pp. 8-47

It certainly was unusual. On June 25, 1939, at St. John’s African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in Norfolk, Virginia, over 1,200 African Americans signed a petition requesting that the city’s school board rehire chemistry teacher Aline Black, who had recently been dismissed from her position at nearby Booker T. Washington High School. Just prior to the St. John’s meeting, ...

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Chapter Two. Courage and Conviction: Moderation's Failure in Norfolk, 1954-1958

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pp. 48-79

It seemed so reasonable, and thus so Virginian, a response at the time. In May 1954, following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education, Professor Herbert A. Marshall encouraged his all- black class at the Norfolk Division of Virginia State College to consider the possible impact of the recent ruling outlawing segregated public schools. As the class progressed, a student noticed that a visiting white journalist,

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Chapter Three. Conflict and Continuity: Desegregation's Difficult Birth in Norfolk, 1958-1959

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pp. 80-113

It was not supposed to happen that way. The fix was already in when Norfolk’s city council agreed to hear from those who opposed the closing of six all-white schools due to court-ordered desegregation. Just the night before in a closed dress rehearsal, the councilmen, along with school board members, legislators, and the Byrd machine’s main lieutenant in Tidewater, Corporation Court Clerk William L. Prieur, ...

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Chapter Four. Protest and Progress: The All-American City and the Age of Tokenism, 1960-1968

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pp. 114-149

When Norfolk’s schools opened on September 5, 1963, students at Booker T. Washington High School were furious at what they found. Conditions at the all-black school were appalling. Classes were overcrowded, with forty students stuffed into many of the rooms. The cafeteria was underfunded, with only one steam table to serve more than 2,400 students. ...

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Chapter Five. Busing and Backlash: The Ambivalent Heyday of School Integration, 1968-1975

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pp. 151-189

In 1968, September arrived hot and muggy in Norfolk. As the city’s young people enjoyed the last days of summer vacation, school administrators and teachers prepared for a promising new academic year. In fact, there was much to be proud about in Norfolk. Since the city had introduced its Quality Education program in 1963, the school system had dramatically improved its offerings. ...

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Chapter Six. Cowardice and Complacency: The Road to Riddick and Resegregation, 1975-1987

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pp. 190-235

The twenty-eighth anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education generated little fanfare in Norfolk on May 17, 1982. Businesspeople went to work as usual. Navy personnel reported for duty at their posts. And students attended classes throughout the city. Few people discussed the Supreme Court’s historic decision or its implications for the new Reagan era. ...

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Epilogue

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pp. 236-244

Over the past two decades, Norfolk, Virginia, has transformed its once-troubled school system into one of the nation’s most acclaimed urban districts. School officials have raised standardized test scores, narrowed the achievement gap between white and black students in the district, and improved the high school graduation rate for all demo- graphic groups. ...

Notes

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pp. 245-294

Index

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pp. 295-307