Author: Sara K. Eskridge

a doctoral candidate in history at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA

Thomas B. Stanley (1890-1970)

Thomas B. Stanley served as governor of Virginia (1954–1958) during the turbulent first years of Massive Resistance to school desegregation. His initial reaction to the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas was moderate, but Stanley, a politician of few gifts, was unable to curb increasing calls for a defiant stance to school desegregation. Stanley eventually followed the lead of more conservative Democrats and backed legislation designed to maintain what supporters called “separate but equal” schools.


James Lindsay Almond Jr. (1898–1986)

J. Lindsay Almond Jr. was a governor of Virginia (1958–1962) whose name became synonymous with Massive Resistance, the legislative effort used to prevent school desegregation in light of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas, Supreme Court of the United States ruling in 1954. A Democrat and member of the Byrd Organization, Almond is famous for closing public schools in Charlottesville, Norfolk, and Front Royal in 1958 rather than integrating them. When the state and federal courts declared his actions illegal, Almond submitted, thus effectively ending the era of Massive Resistance to desegregation in Virginia.