Oliver W. Hill Debates Massive Resistance Policy
Richmond civil rights attorney Oliver W. Hill practiced law for close to sixty years, fighting against racial discrimination in Virginia. In 1951, he represented African American students from Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia, who were striking against their inferior facilities. That case was subsequently bundled with four other cases into Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, and the U.S. Supreme Court's 1954 and 1955 decisions paved the way for school desegregation nationwide. The Virginia statewide political apparatus, long controlled by the political organization of U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd Sr., launched a policy of Massive Resistance to court-ordered school desegregation; in this photo, Hill (center) is arguing the matter with state senators, including future governor Albertis S. Harrison (left).