A Little Child Shall Lead Them: A Documentary Account of the Struggle for School Desegregation in Prince Edward County, Virginia


Product Details

University of Virginia Press
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.81 inches | 1.36 pounds

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About the Author

Brian J. Daugherity is Associate Professor of History at Virginia Commonwealth University and the author of Keep On Keeping On: The NAACP and the Implementation of Brown v. Board of Education in Virginia (Virginia).

Brian Grogan is founder and director of Mercy Seat Films and producer of the documentary They Closed Our Schools.


"There is no other volume that looks in detail at a particular place in the civil rights struggle as this one does, and certainly no comparable volume for Virginia, much less Prince Edward County. The authors have placed Prince Edward County in context and provided an excellent array of documents. The book will find a wide range of readers who want to hear voices of this period, as it brings these firsthand accounts into dialogue with one another and with the reader. Reading these documents, we are struck by the very human decisions taken on all sides of the conflict and the very real consequences of those decisions as well."

--William G. Thomas III, University of Nebraska, author of The Iron Way: Railroads, the Civil War, and the Making of Modern America

At last. As the tragedy of Prince Edward County becomes more widely known, the hunger for understanding grows. This peerless collection of primary sources provides the illumination we need. Giving voice to all sides, it enables twenty-first century readers to take inspiration from the teenage democracy warriors who struck for decent high school and to discover that the segregationists who shut down the public school system invoked taxes, constitutional liberties, and the New Deal along with white supremacy in self-justification. At a time when school teachers are turning to strikes to ensure adequate educations for their students, while race and class motives remain fused in specious interpretations of the Constitution on the political right, this collection is an educators' dream: a chance to teach the contemporary debate by exploring its surprising roots in a contest whose reverberations shaped the country.

--Nancy MacLean, Duke University, author of Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America

Before federal immigration policy jeopardized child welfare with mass detentions and family separations, the school crisis in Farmville, Virginia, during the 1950s was an origin for present-day austerity politics. Brian J. Daugherity and Brian Grogan have compiled a timely document collection that captures the inception of modern conservatism in rural America, set during the civil rights struggle's modern phase and white supremacist resistance.

-- "Journal of Southern History"

Rooted in a particular place, A Little Child Shall Lead Them offers rich resources for understanding the struggle for Black equality in one community and forilluminating the history and effects of educational inequality.

-- "Journal of American History"