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that he gave at a small Episcopal church in Mississippi on the topic of the sacredness of the blues. In microcosm, Spencer's sermon is his entire argument, and in the form of a sermon, it contains all of the power that his scholarly exposition lacks. In fact, the reflexive and subjective stance demanded by Spencer's theomusicology works best not as a scholarly endeavor but as a form ofperformance. The blues song proclaims itselfin its performance, as does the spiritual or the classical piece. The circularity inherent in performances, wherein the singer and the work define themselves by "being," is a beneficial circularity. Spencer's sermon, like the music that he talks about, is a performance that needs no further elucidation . It is the theomusicology that Spencer seeks, and it serves him better than any form of scholarship. Standing Before the Shouting Mob Lenoir Chambers and Virginia's Massive Resistance to Public-School Integration By Alexander S. Leidholdt University of Alabama Press, 1997 208 pp. Cloth, $29.95 Reviewed by Carl Tobias, professor oflaw at the University ofMontana and graduate ofPetersburg, Virginia, public schools and the University of Virginia School of Law. Alexander Leidholdt's Standing Before the Shouting Mob is primarily a biographical account of Lenoir Chambers, the editorial page editor of the Norfolk l^rginianPilot . The book emphasizes the role that Chambers and the newspaper played in shaping public opinion during the half-decade period when Virginia practiced "massive resistance" to the desegregation of public schools. The closing and peaceful reopening of the Norfolk schools sounded the death knell for massive resistance in Virginia and undercut the state's leadership role in preventing integration across the South. Indeed, Norfolk was arguably the linchpin in the long, divisive struggle to implement the mandate ofBrown v. Board ofEducation. Perhaps the greatest contribution oĆ­Standing Before the ShoutingMob is its depiction of efforts to desegregate public schools in a specific locale, with particular reference to journalism's role in influencing public opinion. If the CommonReviews 95 wealth of Virginia was the leader of southern efforts to oppose desegregation, Norfolk was central to massive resistance in Virginia. Had peaceful integration proved difficult to achieve in this, the most politically progressive city in the state, desegregation might have been impossible in other communities. Leidholdt carefully traces how Virginia's statewide political leaders, most prominendy U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd Sr. and GovernorJ. LindsayAlmond, formulated the policy ofmassive resistance. Readers learn thatwhite politicians, who principally represented the Black Belt, forged a program aimed at preventing desegregation throughout the state. They were keenly aware that public-school integration anywhere in Virginia would eventually lead to desegregation across the Commonwealth and that integration would be achieved more easily in areas that had smaller African American populations or which enjoyed a more progressive political climate. These statewide political leaders encouraged the state legislature to enact a series ofstatutes that essentially prevented desegregation by imposing insurmountable obstacles to requests made by African Americans who sought transfers to previously all-white schools. They required the closing ofany public schools that did integrate and furnished tuition grants to attend private facilities for those pupils whose schools were closed. Leidholdt focuses on the effect ofthis legislation in Norfolk. He examines the federal court litigation mandating that the Norfolk School Board admit African Americans to white schools, the governor's concomitant closing of those educational facilities, and subsequent litigation in federal and state courts that forced the schools' reopening. The author painstakingly details the comprehensive, careful efforts ofChambers and the Virginian-Pilotto educate the public about the desegregation controversy and to facilitate the dispute's peaceful resolution. Leidholdt draws thoroughly on Chambers's editorializing throughout the five-year period to illustrate the newspaper's impact on massive resistance. Some ofthe best new material in the book is derived from Leidholdt's personalinterviews with numerous participants in the desegregation dispute. Illustrative are discussions with Walter Hoffman, the federal judge who resolved much ofthe relevant litigation, and Chambers's colleagues at the newspaper. Leidholdt also shares keen insights into race relations in 1950s Norfolk and Virginia. For example , he finds that Chambers's editorializingwas animated more by respect for the Constitution and...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1488
Print ISSN
1068-8218
Pages
pp. 95-97
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-04
Open Access
No
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