Original Author: WSLS-TV News
Created: May 20, 1961
Medium: 16mm film

News footage of L. Francis Griffin with Oliver Hill and Roy Wilkins

This video clip shows news footage of a May 20, 1961, event on the steps of the Prince Edward County courthouse to celebrate the Brown v.Board of Education of Topeka desegregation decision. The organizers invited Oliver W. Hill, then chair of the Virginia Legal Commission of the NAACP, to speak. Roy Wilkins, the executive director of the NAACP, also attended the event and appears in the clip with the Reverend L. Francis Griffin. The event was held in part to draw attention to the school closures in Prince Edward Country. All public schools had been closed for two years, as white county officials preferred to deny students an education rather than integrate the schools. Hill’s speech responded directly to an address given by Senator Harry F. Byrd, who placed the blame for the school closures squarely on the NAACP.