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J. Lindsay Almond, School Integration Speech, 1959


Following nearly two decades of legal challenges to the effects of racial segregation in public schools and higher education, the Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, on May 17, 1954, that state laws requiring the separation of races in public schools were unconstitutional. However, integration was a long process in the United States. The Commonwealth of Virginia led a "massive resistance" movement, threatening to close public schools rather than desegregate.

In this audio clip, then-Governor J. Lindsay Almond uses strong language and imagery to speak out against integration of the Commonwealth's schools.

Citation: J. Lindsay Almond School Integration Speech, January 20, 1959 (WRVA–386), WRVA Radio Collection, Accession 38210, Library of Virginia.


VS.1, VS.9, USII.1, USII.8, VUS.1, VUS.13, VUS.14

Suggested Questions

In Their Shoes: Assume the role of a newspaper editorialist and compose a response to Governor Almond arguing with at least three of his specific reasons why integration is a bad thing for the Commonwealth.

Analyze: Explain why the reference to Soviet Russia would have been included in this speech to address the topic of segregation.

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