Arlington--Another Little Rock?
School Integration Fight on Washington's Doorstep
THE volcano of hatred and violence that erupted in Little Rock last September is now rumbling on the door-step of the nation’s capital. This September all eyes are focused on Arlington, Virginia, where a small number of Negro children, recently given the blessing of a Supreme Court decision, are contesting Virginia’s “massive resistance” program, the most open challenge yet offered to the Court’s 1954 ruling outlawing school segregation. Seven of the eligible Negroes have been kept from entering white classrooms for two years- so long that one of them has now been graduated from high school-while Virginia has been exhausting every appeal to the Federal courts. There is nothing left now for Virginia but to flout the Court decree directly.
A series of laws passed by the 1958 session of the state legislature requires that Governor J. Lindsay Almond, Jr., must close any school that becomes integrated. The local school board and the local governing body -in Arlington’s case, the County Board- may jointly request that schools be reopened, but, in contrast with an earlier law which permitted local option, the Governor is not obliged to reopen the school. And even if he permits the schools to be reopened, state funds are automatically cut off from an integrated school system. Finally, by the so-called “Little Rock” law, the Governor can close down all schools in the local area if Federal troops are brought in.
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