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Identifying the social and political events in Virginia linked to desegregation and Massive Resistance and their relationship to national history.



  • In this lesson, students will learn about desegregation and Massive Resistance in Virginia.

  • Introduce the following session vocabulary words. Have the students make vocabulary cards and meaning cards to match the terms.
    • Prejudice: A formed opinion, usually unfavorable
    • Civil rights: The individual right of all citizens to be treated equally under the law
    • Civil Rights Movement: In the United States during the 1950s and the 1960s, people organized to demand that the federal government protect rights of African Americans and other minorities. People worked together to change unfair laws. They gave speeches, marched in the streets, and participated in boycotts.
    • Discrimination: Unfair treatment of people because of such things as their race, religion, or gender
    • "Separate but equal”: The idea that people of different races would remain segregated, but have equal rights
    • Desegregation: Abolishment of racial segregation
    • Integration: full equality of all races in the use of public facilities

  • Introduce the key points of desegregation and Massive Resistance in Virginia. The United States Supreme Court ruled in 1954 (Brown v. Board of Education) that “separate but equal” public schools were unconstitutional. All public schools, including those in Virginia, were ordered to integrate.

  • Explain that Virginia’s government established a policy of Massive Resistance, which fought to “resist” the integration of public schools. Some schools were closed to avoid integration. The policy of Massive Resistance failed, and Virginia’s public schools were integrated.

  • Help students understand that Harry F. Byrd, Sr., led the Massive Resistance Movement against integration of public schools.

  • Use the following resources to assist students in creating graphic organizers about desegregation and Massive Resistance.

  • Use the following resources for background information:

  • Use pictures from Social Studies Curriculum Virginia Studies Poster Sets at Virginia in the 20th Century3.pdf and Virginia in the 20th Century4.pdf to explain segregation, desegregation, integration, and Massive Resistance.

  • Make connections between the past and present by using resources from The Ground Beneath Our Feet--Massive Resistance.



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Updated on August 11, 2008.