Even after the 1964 Supreme Court decision that required school districts such as Prince Edward County to reopen, some Virginia districts continued to move slowly toward integration. Many schools remained predominantly white or black until the 1968 Green v. School Board of New Kent County case made racial balance the standard for compliance with desegregation requirements. The percentage of African American students attending integrated schools in the South increased from 32 percent to 79 percent in just one year as a result of the Green decision.

In the late 1960s and 1970s, most white and black Virginians continued to live in segregated neighborhoods. Federal District Judge Robert Mehrige, Jr. ordered citywide busing to comply with the Green decision, but opposition was intense. Protests such as the one pictured here took place across Virginia, and in 1972 the Supreme Court overturned Mehrige’s cross-county lines busing ruling. As a result, many city schools again became predominantly black.

Source: “Students Protest Busing Plan,” still image, c. 1972, The Civil Rights Movement in Virginia, Virginia Historical Society, accessed September 20, 2011.


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