TCC - WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH
~ Panel discussion on school desegregation by Norfolk educators
~ Talk on civil rights protection in Portsmouth
NORFOLK, Va. – (Feb. 9, 2005) – Honoring Women’s
History Month, Tidewater Community College’s Women Center
focuses on two events following the theme of civil rights and
Kicking off the month, the Women’s Center hosts a panel
discussion on school desegregation and the instrumental role of
women in battling Jim Crow laws in Norfolk. Women’s
Voices For Equality will be held at 7 p.m. on March
1 at the TCC Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center, 340
Granby St., Norfolk. The event is free and open to the public.
The women will describe the fight for equality in public education
during and after “Massive Resistance.” The panel discussion
will be moderated by Cassandra Newby-Alexander, Ph.D., associate
professor of history, Norfolk State University. Panelists include
LaVerna Forbes, one of the 17 black high school students who qualified
to go to a white school prior to the school closing; Celestyne
Diggs Porter, a teacher at an all-black school prior to the resistance
who also worked as a supervisor in the school system after desegregation;
and Theresa Whibley, current chair of the Norfolk School Board.
Background: Granby High opened its doors in September
1939 as the second white-only public high school in Norfolk. However,
rulings in Brown v. The Board of Education threatened segregated
On May 17, 1954, the United States Supreme Court declared segregated
schools contrary to the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution.
Virginia, with other southern states, mobilized against what they
perceived as a violation of states’ rights. To offset the
court’s decision Virginia’s General Assembly embarked
on a program of “Massive Resistance.”
Massive Resistance, a term coined by Harry F. Byrd Sr., head of
Virginia’s Democratic Organization and a leader among southern
congressmen and senators, employed a series of legislative enactments
to “defend” Virginia’s public schools from integration.
The major provision decreed that integrated schools would not
be entitled to any operational funds from the state treasury.
In 1958, federal district courts in Virginia ordered schools in
Arlington, Charlottesville, Norfolk and Warren County to desegregate.
To circumvent the courts’ orders, Gov. J. Lindsay Almond
Jr. closed the schools in Warren County Sept. 8. Meanwhile, in
the hopes of finding a solution, Charlottesville and Norfolk postponed
the opening of their schools. But, on Sept. 19, Almond closed
two schools in Charlottesville and on Sept. 27 he closed another
six schools in Norfolk. Warren County and Charlottesville, given
the size of their school systems, were able to provide adequate
schooling, either private or otherwise, during the crisis. In
Norfolk, however, the citizens were not prepared for the displacement
of 10,000 students.
Bringing the discussion around to another South Hampton Roads
city, TCC invites the public to a talk on Civil Rights
Issues in Portsmouth Today by City Councilwoman
Marlene Randall. She will discuss how the city of Portsmouth ensures
the civil rights of all people. Learn about issues relevant today
during the talk at the Portsmouth Campus Theater on March 24 from
12:15 to 1:30 p.m. This event is co-sponsored by TCC Student Activities.
For more information, call the TCC Women’s Center at 822-1538.
Tidewater Community College
is the second largest of the 23 community colleges in the Commonwealth
of Virginia, enrolling more than 35,000 students annually. The 37th
largest in the nation’s 1,600 community-college network, TCC
ranks among the 50 fastest-growing large community colleges. Founded
in 1968 as a part of the Virginia Community College System, the
college serves the South Hampton Roads region with campuses in Chesapeake,
Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach as well as the TCC Jeanne
and George Roper Performing Arts Center in the theater district
in downtown Norfolk, the Visual Arts Center in Olde Towne Portsmouth
and a regional Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach. Forty-four
percent of the region’s residents attending a college or university
in Virginia last fall were enrolled at TCC. For more information,