MEDIA
Original Author: Francis Simkins, Sidman Poole, and Spotswood Hunnicutt, text
Created: 1957
Medium: Illustrated book pages

All-White Virginia Classroom

Two pages from the state-sanctioned seventh-grade textbook, Virginia: History, Government, Geography (1957), depict an all-white classroom, which was the reality during that era of segregation. On the blackboard behind her, the white teacher has written the subject matter being taught that day: the English colony in Jamestown and its interaction with the native Virginia Indians, centering on the highly romanticized figures of John Smith and Pocahontas. Though this textbook was used by students of every race and ethnicity, this image seems to imply that the accompanying text is directed solely to the white students seen here and that these students will serve important future roles in the state:

Virginia will always need men and women to make good homes. It needs farmers to grow food. It needs men and women to work in factories and stores and offices ... Virginia needs doctors and scientists, lawyers and engineers, ministers and teachers and nurses. And Virginia will always need good leaders to help show us the way.

Citation: Virginia: History, Government, Geography. F226 .S5 1957. Special Collections, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA