Southern Stalemate

While we have talked about it vaguely in class before the fact that Prince Edward County would rather shut down it’s school system then desegregate is still bewildering to me. Christopher Bonastia does a great job at showing a brief overview of Prince Edward and the area around it from the time it was settled to Brown V. Board, while not fully comprehensive it does a great job creating a stage for our story to play out and is a great touch to this piece. Learning about Isreal Hill and the story of John Mercer Langston (first Black member of congress in VA) set an sense of intrigue to usher in the main point for me the reader. I think Bonastia’s best move here is breaking how to understand the school closing into 9 bullets simplifying this complex moment in history to a place where the general audience (and weary researcher) can easily digest, then interested in the larger topics like Griffin v school board of Prince Edward county for example. The view adopted that educated citizenry was seen as a threat to the entrenched upper-class and the idea that they justified keeping the working class and proletaries out of school by blaming it on ” blacks wanting integration over education” ( 7) is a powerful argument that hits hard!

This piece is very exciting and could easily be turned into a movie or TV show with the amount of great one liners that are peppered in throughout in the cases my favorite being the section header “Face the dawn and not the setting sun” (13). The tone and pacing here is an example of an author who has a mastery of the pen and the subject at hand which comes together to bring this history alive in the eyes of the audience. I feel as if the section on modified segregation does a great job at commanding the attention of the reader especially on page 36 and 37 talking about the growing power behind their suit and the changing of the times exemplified by the line “They have electricity now, and they are buying tractors to replace their mules. nobody bosses them.” Personally this section made me very excited ~

The years of statewide massive resistance and how a single county played into it makes such an interesting moment in this states history, seeing the ways Black people fought back against White supremacy in this era and in this region is super fascinating; I really like how Bonastia highlights the importance of education and independence for each family for the activist for civil rights.

I think Bonastia does a great job at showing and highlighting that the fight for civil rights was not won in a day, that (as the chapter suggest) their can be no middle ground and that there is no overnight moral awaking, the fight is always ongoing. There will always be a fight to protect civil rights and education rights for all; there are people who benefit from the poor and downtrodden from not having access to quality education and they will do anything they can to keep themselves in power.

One Reply to “Southern Stalemate”

  1. Partial. Make sure that you demonstrate that you have completed the reading assignment. I can’t tell based on what you have written, which is more about your perception than the reading.

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