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Something Must Be Done about Prince Edward County : A Family, a Virginia Town, a Civil Rights Battle
by Kristen Green


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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Combining hard-hitting investigative journalism and a sweeping family narrative, this provocative true story reveals a little-known chapter of American history: the period after the Brown v.  Read more...


 
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More About Something Must Be Done about Prince Edward County by Kristen Green
 
 
 
Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Combining hard-hitting investigative journalism and a sweeping family narrative, this provocative true story reveals a little-known chapter of American history: the period after the Brown v. Board of Education decision when one Virginia school system refused to integrate.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's unanimous Brown v. Board of Education decision, Virginia's Prince Edward County refused to obey the law. Rather than desegregate, the county closed its public schools, locking and chaining the doors. The community's white leaders quickly established a private academy, commandeering supplies from the shuttered public schools to use in their all-white classrooms. Meanwhile, black parents had few options: keep their kids at home, move across county lines, or send them to live with relatives in other states. For five years, the schools remained closed.

Kristen Green, a longtime newspaper reporter, grew up in Farmville and attended Prince Edward Academy, which did not admit black students until 1986. In her journey to uncover what happened in her hometown before she was born, Green tells the stories of families divided by the school closures and of 1,700 black children denied an education. As she peels back the layers of this haunting period in our nation's past, her own family's role--no less complex and painful--comes to light.

At once gripping, enlightening, and deeply moving, Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County is a dramatic chronicle that explores our troubled racial past and its reverberations today, and a timeless story about compassion, forgiveness, and the meaning of home.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062268679
  • ISBN-10: 0062268678
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publish Date: June 2015
  • Page Count: 336
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds


Related Categories

Books > History > United States - State & Local - South
Books > History > United States - 20th Century
Books > Education > History

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2015-03-16
  • Reviewer: Staff

Green’s absorbing first book follows the town of Farmville, Va., focusing on its bifurcated school system (black and white, public and private) and evolving racial culture over six decades, from the massive resistance to school integration in the 1950s and 1960s to the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors 2008 resolution that “the closing of public schools in our county from 1959 to 1964 was wrong.” Farmville was Green’s hometown; she, her siblings, her parents, and other relatives attended the all-white Prince Edward Academy. She uncovers a “painful history hidden in plain sight,” learning that her grandfather was not “some anonymous member” of the white-supremacist Defenders but one of its founders, and exploring the other life of the family’s black longtime housekeeper (“As a child I never imagined that Elsie had a life before us”). Green interviews extensively (family, old friends, administrators, teachers) and scours contemporaneous media coverage. The remarks she elicits from African-Americans who were denied public schooling by Prince Edward County are particularly affecting. A merger of history both lived and studied, Green’s book looks beyond the publicized exploits of community leaders to reveal the everyday people who took great risks and often suffered significant loss during the struggle against change in one “quaint, damaged community.” Agent: Laurie Abkemeier, DeFiore and Company. (June)

 
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