Special Collections of the ODU Libraries

Norfolk Public Schools Desegregation Papers, 1922-2008 | Special Collections and University Archives

By Jennifer K. Clayton

Collection Overview

Title: Norfolk Public Schools Desegregation Papers, 1922-2008

ID: 00/MG 92

Primary Creator: Norfolk Public Schools (Norfolk, Va.)

Extent: 18.4 Linear Feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The content is arranged chronologically. As such, it is possible that certain topics and materials regarding specific parties may cross series.

Date Acquired: 12/14/2007

Subjects: African Americans--Civil rights, African Americans--Education--Virginia--Norfolk, African Americans--Segregation, Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka, Busing for school integration--Virginia--Norfolk, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Norfolk (Va.)--History--20th century, Norfolk (Va.)--Politics and government--20th century, Public schools--Virginia--Norfolk, Race relations--History--20th century, School closings--Virginia--Norfolk, School integration--Massive resistance movement, School integration--Virginia--Norfolk--History--20th century, Segregation in education--Virginia--Norfolk

Languages: English


This collection dating from 1922-2008, contains correspondence, memorandum, depositions, court orders, recollections, statistical testing data, printed material, artifacts, and maps.The bulk of the collection provides a glimpse into the decisions made by the School Board through court documentation and the public sentiment during the integration process in Norfolk. While most of the collection deals with desegregation, it also includes school directories and calendars before and after desegregation.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection primarily contains material related to the integration of the Norfolk public schools. The papers include correspondence, court cases, school board resolutions, inter-district memorandum, press releases, reports, news clippings and district maps. Subjects covered are the 1958 school closing to prevent integration, integration progress in the 1960s, busing to achieve integration in the 1970s and the end of busing in the mid-1980s. Among the most important historical materials is correspondence between Governor Lindsay Almond and the School Administration, beginning with the letter ordering the closing of six Norfolk schools as mandated by the "Massive Resistance" law. While most of the collection deals with desegregation, it also includes school directories and calendars before and after desegregation.

Portions of the Norfolk Public Schools Desegregation Papers have been digitized and are available in the Old Dominion University Libraries Digital Collections.

Collection Historical Note

Norfolk, Virginia has twice found itself at the center of a storm of attention related to the racial desegregation of its schools. The first was in the late 1950s during a state-wide, governor-led resistance to the integration mandated by the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, KS ruling. Governor J. Lindsay Almond, Jr. closed the schools scheduled to be integrated for five months until the courts intervened. The second was in 1986 when Norfolk became the first school district in the country to have a federal judicial ruling allowing them to end busing for the purpose of achieving racial balance in schools.

On September 19, 1958, U.S. District Judge Walter Hoffman issued an order in continuation of Leola Pearl Beckett v. The School Board of the City of Norfolk which said that Norfolk must immediately begin to integrate its schools. On September 27, 1958, the Norfolk School Board placed 17 African American children into previously all white schools in compliance with the judge's order. Earlier in 1958, the Virginia legislature had granted permission to Governor J. Lindsay Almond, Jr. to close any white school that had "negroes" which tried to enroll. On September 27, the same day the children were to start at school, the Governor closed the six affected schools in Norfolk and took them under his control. In all, this impacted more than 10,000 white students and the 17 African American students (the Norfolk 17). In the months that followed, students found avenues to education through private schools, relocation, but mostly through highly organized tutoring groups. In February of 1959, the schools reopened with fewer students-by one estimate almost 2500 fewer.

During the 1960s and 1970s, southern school districts struggled to implement the court-ordered integration in the face of political and community opposition. Districts faced internal challenges of teachers and administrators who did not want to work with students of another race and in many cases had to force involuntary transfers to maintain court-ordered quotas. As African American students began to apply for transfers to predominantly white schools in Norfolk, the district developed a rigorous evaluation system including an examination of records, health requirements, the academic achievement of the student in comparison to the requested school, residence, physical and moral fitness, mental ability (IQ), social adaptability, and cultural background compared to the requested school. The apparent goal and result of these stringent requirements was to give the appearance of compliance, while maintaining the status quo. As the courts and groups such as the NAACP became frustrated with the road blocks to integration, additional court cases were filed and more court orders were disseminated. As the 1960s closed, Norfolk still had not achieved integration and stronger measures needed to be implemented.

The mandatory busing between paired schools in Norfolk, VA began in September of 1971. Within the first weeks of busing, enrollment in the district dropped by 5000 students-within the next two years, an additional 8000 students left the district-mostly white. Four years later, in February of 1975, Judge Mackenzie deemed Norfolk a unitary school district-which meant that it was no longer segregated. As the enrollment of white students continued to drop-termed "white flight"-the School Board became concerned that despite busing, an integrated school district would be impossible to achieve. It examined a multitude of other districts around the country to gain ideas into how best to deal with the challenges. The school board voted in 1983 to end cross-town busing of elementary students, but to continue it for middle and high school. Although they were challenged in the Riddick v. School Board of the City of Norfolk case, their decision was upheld in 1986 when the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the lower court decision. In the years that followed, a Community Oversight Committee was established to oversee the equity among schools and resources, but disbanded itself in 1991.

Subject/Index Terms

African Americans--Civil rights
African Americans--Education--Virginia--Norfolk
African Americans--Segregation
Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka
Busing for school integration--Virginia--Norfolk
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
Norfolk (Va.)--History--20th century
Norfolk (Va.)--Politics and government--20th century
Public schools--Virginia--Norfolk
Race relations--History--20th century
School closings--Virginia--Norfolk
School integration--Massive resistance movement
School integration--Virginia--Norfolk--History--20th century
Segregation in education--Virginia--Norfolk

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections and University Archives

Alternate Extent Statement: 34 Hollinger Document Cases; 2 oversized Hollinger boxes

Access Restrictions: To access this collection, researchers must first sign a non-disclosure statement in order to protect confidential information.

Use Restrictions: Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Acquisition Source: Norfolk, Virginia, Public Schools

Acquisition Method: Gift. Accession #A2007-006

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], Box [insert number], Folder [insert number and title], Norfolk Public Schools Desegregation Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Old Dominion University Libraries.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Closing of the Norfolk City Schools, 1954-1960],
[Series II: The Path to a Unitary School District, 1960-1983],
[Series III: Norfolk as a Unitary School District and the End of Busing, 1976-1991],
[Series IV: Directories and Calendars, 1922-2008],
[Series V: Oversized Documents],

Series II: The Path to a Unitary School District, 1960-1983
This series contains a multitude of information regarding Norfolk schools during the 1960s and 1970s. It includes court required reports, internal memorandum, court documents including depositions, and test scores. There are studies and statistics maintained regarding the representation of African Americans both in the staffs of schools and in administrative positions. The city was required to present data regarding both enrollment and test scores by race. Additionally, there was significant community involvement through both litigation and public efforts to push each person's own agenda. Requests by teachers not to be moved to schools predominantly composed of another race are also included. Finally, there is information regarding the tuition grant program and its implementation.
Box 3
Folder 1: News Clippings, 1960s and 1970s
Folder 2: Court Orders, 1960s
Folder 3: School Enrollment & Racial Distribution, 1960-1972
Folder 4: Recommended Assignment of Pupils, 1960-1961
Folder 5: Integration-Misc. Social Activities, 1959-1963
Folder 6: Integration-Misc. Requests to Withdraw from White Schools, 1960 & 1963
Folder 7: Integration 1960-1961, Federal Court
Folder 8: Integration 1960-1961, Resolutions Adopted by School Board
Folder 9: Integration 1960-1961, Testing Program, 1960
Folder 10: Integration-Misc. Ashe, Madison, Jordan, Negro Attorneys, 1961-1968
Folder 11: Integration-Misc. Distances from Applicant's Residence to Schools, 1961
Folder 12: Integration 1961-1962, Resolutions Adopted by School Board
Folder 13: Integration 1961-1962, Testing Program, 1961
Folder 14: Integration 1961-1962, Miscellaneous
Folder 15: Integration 1962-1963, Letters to Parents
Folder 16: Integration 1962-1963, Report on 62-63 School Year
Folder 17: Integration 1962-1963, Resolutions Adopted by School Board
Folder 18: Integration 1962-1963, Probation Students
Folder 19: Negro Application, 1962-1963
Box 4
Folder 1: Integration 1963-1964, Depositions, 1963
Folder 2: Integration-Interrogatories, 1963
Folder 3: Integration 1963-1964, Resolutions Adopted by School Board
Folder 4: Integration-Other Cities, 1963-1965
Folder 5: Choice of Schools, 1964 & 1969
Folder 6: Integration 1964-1965, Resolutions
Folder 7: Principles for Determining, 1963
Box 5
Folder 1: Integration, 1964-1965
Folder 2: Integration 1964-1965, Brief for Defendants
Folder 3: City Attorney Tuition Grant Suit, 1964-1965
Folder 4: Integration 1964-1965, City Attorney
Folder 5: Integration 1964-1965, Federal Court Memorandum & Order, 1964
Folder 6: Integration 1964-1965 Publication of Plan of School Bd. For Desegregation, 1964
Folder 7: Enrollment Data Summary, 1965
Folder 8: Integration 1965-1966, Publication of Plan of School Bd. For Desegregation
Folder 9: Integration 1965-1966, City Attorney
Folder 10: Tuition Grants, 1966
Folder 11: Tuition Grants-Douglas MacArthur Acad. (Tidewater Ed. Foundation), 1965-1966
Folder 12: Tuition Grants-McLea Day School, 1965-1966
Folder 13: Tuition Grants-Meadows Private School, 1965-1966
Folder 14: Tuition Grants-Norfolk Academy, 1965-1966
Folder 15: Tuition Grants-North Shore Private School, 1965-1966
Folder 16: Tuition Grants-Mary C. Rice Private School, 1965-1966
Folder 17: Tuition Grants-Ryan Private School, 1965-1966
Folder 18: Tuition Grants-Tidewater Association for Retarded Children, 1965-1966
Folder 19: Tuition Grants-Town & Country Day School, 1965-1966
Folder 20: Tuition Grants-Twin Oaks Private School, 1965-1966
Box 6
Folder 1: Tuition Grants-Wayside Academy, 1965-1966
Folder 2: Tuition Grants-Arrowood Academy, 1965-1966
Folder 3: Tuition Grants-Brentwood Day School, 1965-1966
Folder 4: Tuition Grants-Carolton Oaks School, 1965-1966
Folder 5: Tuition Grants-Denby Park School, 1965-1966
Folder 6: Tuition Grants-Garrison Williams School, 1965-1966
Folder 7: Tuition Grants-Barbara Jacobs School, 1965-1966
Folder 8: Tuition Grants-King's Grant Christian Day School, 1965-1966
Folder 9: Integration 1965-1966, Interrogatories
Folder 10: Integration 1965-1966, Resolutions
Folder 11: Desegregation of Facilities-Reassignment of Volunteers, Part 1, 1966-1970
Folder 12: Desegregation of Facilities-Reassignment of Volunteers, Part 2, 1966-1970
Folder 13: Integration 1966-1967, Response of School Board to Order of the Court, 1965
Folder 14: Integration, 1966-1967 Statement via TV by Lamberth & Thomas, 1966
Folder 15: Integration 1966-1967 Teachers, 1966
Folder 16: Integration-Misc. Wetter, Dr. Allen, 1967
Folder 17: Percent of White & Black Pupils, 1966-1970
Folder 18: Distribution of Pupils & Administration by Race, 1965, 1970, 1975
Box 7
Folder 1: Integration 1966-1967, Publication of Plan of School Board for Desegregation
Folder 2: Integration 1966-1967 Plan of School Board for Desegregation of Schools, 1966
Folder 3: Integration 1966-1967, Resolutions
Folder 4: Integration 1966-1967 Choice of School, 1966
Folder 5: Plan of the School Board, Amended & Modified, May 23, 1967
Folder 6: Integration 1967-1968, Transfer Requests
Folder 7: Integration 1967-1968, Resolutions
Folder 8: Special Report on Enrollment as of October 1, 1968
Folder 9: Neighborhood Analysis, August 1967
Folder 10: Integration 1967-1968, Federal Report
Folder 11: Integration 1967-1968, City Attorney
Folder 12: Integration 1967-1968, Choice of School
Folder 13: Submission of Plaintiff-Intervener Pursuant to the Court's Order, 1968
Folder 14: Compulsory Attendance Law, September 9, 1968
Box 8
Folder 1: Integration City Attorney, 1966-1967
Folder 2: Briefs, Brewer et al, 1967
Folder 3: Cost Per Pupil by Schools, 1968-1969
Folder 4: Integration City Attorney, 1968-1969
Folder 5: Brief Brewer Case, 1968
Folder 6: Expenditures, June 12, 1968
Folder 7: Racial Imbalance, October 1968
Folder 8: Transportation
Box 9
Folder 1: Integration-Federal Court Order Memorandum & Order, 1968
Folder 2: Estimated Requirements for Transportation of Pupils, 1968-1969
Folder 3: Integration Resolutions, 1968-1969
Folder 4: Integration Attorney General, 1968-1969
Folder 5: Court Orders, 1968-1969
Folder 6: Integration Requests for Information, 1969
Folder 7: Norfolk Desegregation, 1969
Folder 8: Petition for Writ of certiorari to the U.S. Court of Appeals for 4th Circuit and Motion to Advance, 1969
Folder 9: Court Documents, 1969
Folder 10: Enrollment Membership Information, 1969
Folder 11: Boundary Lines Proposed Senior High School, 1969-1970
Folder 12: Letters, 1969-1971
Folder 13: Integration Resolutions, 1969-1970
Folder 14: Court Memorandum, December 30, 1969
Folder 15: Appeal US District Court, Raleigh, NC, 1969
Folder 16: Pairing of Schools, February 3, 1969
Folder 17: Correspondence Equal Education Opportunities, Washington & Charlottesville, 1969
Box 10
Folder 1: Beckett Case, Depositions, April 16, 1969
Folder 2: Beckett Case, Depositions Volumes I, II, April 22-23, 1969
Folder 3: Beckett Case, Depositions Volumes VII, VIII, X, April 29, May 7 & 9, 1969
Box 11
Folder 1: Beckett Case, Depositions Volumes III and others, September 1969
Folder 2: Beckett Case, Depositions Volumes III & V, October 1969
Folder 3: Beckett Case, Trial Proceedings Volume VII, October 1969
Folder 4: Beckett Case, Deposition, October 5, 1969
Box 12
Folder 1: Beckett Case, Depositions, Volume II, October 9, 1969
Folder 2: Beckett Case, Depositions, Volume IV, October 11, 1969
Folder 3: Beckett Case, Depositions, Volume VI, October 14, 1969
Box 13
Folder 1: Beckett Case, Proceedings, Volume VIII, October 16, 1969
Folder 2: Beckett Case, Proceedings, Volume IX, October 17, 1969
Folder 3: Beckett Case, Volume XI, November 11, 1969
Folder 4: Beckett Case, Volumes A-C, December 8, 1969
Box 14
Folder 1: Court Case, Carlotta Brewer, 1969-1975
Folder 2: Court Case, Carlotta Brewer, 1969-1975
Folder 3: Desegregation Faculty, 1969-1977
Folder 4: Desegregation Court Correspondence, 1969-1986
Folder 5: Integration City Attorney, 1969-1970
Folder 6: Integration Choice of School, 1969-1970
Folder 7: Integration Attorney General, 1969-1970
Box 15
Folder 1: Integration Long Range Plan, 1969-1970
Folder 2: Integration News Clippings, 1969-1970
Folder 3: Objections from the Justice Department, 1969-1970
Folder 4: Court Orders, 1970s
Folder 5: Briefs, Brewer Case, 1970
Folder 6: Profiles of Change Trends since 1970, 1970-1978
Folder 7: Guidelines for Faculty Balancing, March 4, 1970
Folder 8: Memorandum, June 22, 1970
Folder 9: Decision 4th Circuit Court, June 22, 1970
Folder 10: District Court Order, June 23, 1970
Folder 11: Statement of Vincent J. Thomas, July 14, 1970
Folder 12: Statement of Vincent J. Thomas, July 27, 1970
Folder 13: Authorization for Athletes, 1969-1970
Folder 14: Administrative Transfers, 1969-1970
Folder 15: Petition for Writ Supreme Court October Term, 1969
Folder 16: Federal Enforcement of School Desegregation Report, 1969
Folder 17: Racial Distribution of Administrators and Faculty, September 29, 1969
Folder 18: Norview/Coronado Elementary Schools, August 4, 1969
Folder 19: Depositions Beckett Box, July 29, 1970 & August 27, 1970
Folder 20: Court Order, July 29, 1970
Box 16
Folder 1: Depositions Beckett Case, Volume I, August 11, 1970
Folder 2: Statement of Vincent J. Thomas, August 24, 1970
Folder 3: Court Order, August 27, 1970
Folder 4: School Enrollment and Racial Distribution, September 16, 1970
Folder 5: Report of Student Membership, September 16, 1970
Folder 6: Complaint against School Board, McDaniel, October 1970
Folder 7: Transfer Papers, 1970
Folder 8: Response to Questions Propounded, 1970
Folder 9: NAACP's Motion for Further Relief, 1970
Folder 10: Depositions Beckett Case, 1970
Folder 11: Plan for Unitary Schools, 1970-1971
Folder 12: Complaint US District Court, 1970-1971
Folder 13: Revised Score Sheet, 1970-1971
Folder 14: Number of Sections of Each Grade above First Floor, 1970
Folder 15: Richmond Division, 1970-1971
Box 17
Folder 1: Miscellaneous, 1970-1971
Folder 2: Swann et. al., 1971
Folder 3: Fees, Court Costs, 1971
Folder 4: Brief, Brewer Case, 1971
Folder 5: Richmond, 1971
Folder 6: Selection & Training of Bus Drivers, 1971
Folder 7: Concerned Citizens Motions & Objections, 1971
Folder 8: Integration Statement by Chairman of the School Board, 1971
Folder 9: Answer to the Motion for Further Relief, 1971
Folder 10: Letters, Busing, 1971
Folder 11: Supplemental Brief of NAACP, June 1, 1971
Folder 12: 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, June 10, 1971
Folder 13: Court Order, July 19, 1971
Folder 14: Court Order, July 28, 1971
Folder 15: Memorandum, July 28, 1971
Folder 16: Court Order, July 28, 1971
Folder 17: Motion to Vacate Stay by the NAACP, August 25, 1971
Folder 18: Response of School Board in Opposition to Vacate Stay, August 25, 1971
Folder 19: Motion to Vacate Stay & Motion for Rending Appeal, August 25, 1971
Folder 20: Motion for Injunction Regarding Appeal, August 31, 1971
Folder 21: Integration 1971-1972, Petitions from Parents regarding busing
Folder 22: Total Full-Time Professional & Instructional Staff, October 2, 1971
Folder 23: Proposed Amendments to the Pupil Assignment Plan, 1971-1972
Folder 24: Justice Department Opposition for Stay, 1971
Folder 25: Membership & Racial Distribution, September 30, 1971
Folder 26: Feeder Schools & Pattern, September 1971
Folder 27: Whitmore Complaint, September 28, 1971
Box 18
Folder 1: Enrollment Data, September 30, 1969; 1970, 1971, 1972
Folder 2: Report to the Court, October 1971
Folder 3: Summary of Enrollment Data, October 11, 1971
Folder 4: Supreme Court, October 1971
Folder 5: Complaints from Parents Concerning Bus Service, 1971
Folder 6: Motion to Dispense with Printing Brewer/Allgood, October 1971
Folder 7: Bus Fare Ordinance, December 6, 1971
Folder 8: Senior High Schools with 100% Senior Options & 9th Graders Assigned, 1971-1972
Folder 9: Court Complete Exhibit Sets, 1971-1972
Folder 10: Exceptions to Norfolk Plan, 1971-1972
Folder 11: Amendment to the Plan, 1971-1972
Folder 12: Teachers Suit for Full Salary under Price Freeze, 1971-1972
Folder 13: Busing-Miscellaneous Articles, reports, etc., 1971-1972
Folder 14: Racial Breakdown Involving Administrators, 1971-1972
Folder 15: Score Sheet Proposed, 1971-1972
Folder 16: Exhibits A-D, 1971-1972
Folder 17: NAACP Response to the 1971-1972 Plan
Folder 18: 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Transcript, June 10, 1971
Folder 19: 4th Circuit Court of Appeals Transcript, March 7, 1972
Folder 20: H.R. 13915, March 20, 1972
Folder 21: Court Order Approving Changes, June 16, 1972
Folder 22: Richmond Case, 1972
Box 19
Folder 1: Counsel Fees, June 28, 1972
Folder 2: Fall 1972 Report to the Court
Folder 3: Desegregation Study, August 14-18, 1972
Folder 4: Transition School, August 3, 1972
Folder 5: Full Time Professional Instructional Staff, October 2, 1972
Folder 6: Race Distribution of Faculty, November 10, 1972
Folder 7: Final Argument, October 26, 1972
Folder 8: Depositions, 1972
Folder 9: Richmond Transcripts, 1972
Folder 10: Integration Plaintiff Counsel Fees, 1972-1973
Folder 11: Transportation, 1972-1973
Folder 12: Exceptions of Plaintiffs, July 21, 1972
Box 20
Folder 1: District Court, July 11, 1972
Folder 2: Proposed Adjustments to Pupil Attendance Plan, 1972-1973
Folder 3: Integration-1972-1973, Federal Court Memorandums, Motions, Orders
Folder 4: Proposed Adjustments to Plan, May 25, 1972
Folder 5: Capacity Data, 1973
Folder 6: Attorney's Fees, January 22, 1973
Folder 7: Proposed Adjustment to Pupil Attendance Plan, 1973
Folder 8: Administrative Staff by Race, 1973
Folder 9: Desegregation-Miscellaneous, 1973-1981
Folder 10: Review of Federal Court Orders, November 16, 1973
Folder 11: Fall 1973 Report to the Court
Folder 12: Integration 1973-1974, Pupil Attendance Plan
Folder 13: Minority and Non-Minority Percentages Summary, 1973-1974
Folder 14: Pupil Reassignment Factors, 1973-1974
Folder 15: Integration History, 1974
Folder 16: Amendments to the Assignment Plan, 1974-1975
Folder 17: Fall 1974 Report to the Court
Folder 18: Integration 1974-1975 Pupil Assignment Plan
Box 21
Folder 1: Enrollment Data, 1974-77
Folder 2: Order-Beckett Dismissal, 1974
Folder 3: Opinions from Other Districts, 1974
Folder 4: Order Labeling Norfolk as a Unitary School District, February 1975
Folder 5: Attorney General Opinions, 1976
Folder 6: Desegregation-Miscellaneous Reports, Guidelines, 1976
Folder 7: Supreme Court-Hortonville, 1976
Folder 8: Racial Distribution Administrators, 1977
Folder 9: Attendance Percentage, 1978-1979 to 1982-1983
Folder 10: NAACP, 1979
Folder 11: Coleman Report, 1981

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Closing of the Norfolk City Schools, 1954-1960],
[Series II: The Path to a Unitary School District, 1960-1983],
[Series III: Norfolk as a Unitary School District and the End of Busing, 1976-1991],
[Series IV: Directories and Calendars, 1922-2008],
[Series V: Oversized Documents],

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