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Trails and Trailblazers
by Shirley Robertson Lee
Following the 50th anniversary of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, this book provides a story of how Lunenburg County, a rural school district, in Southside Virginia transitioned - in the span of one hundred years - from a segregated to an integrated, unified system. The Lunenburg story is as important as that of its neighbor, Prince Edward County, although its transition is less dramatic. This story is part of what occurred in public education during this important chapter.
As a life-long resident of Lunenburg County and former student attending segregated schools from the first to eleventh grade and an integrated school during her senior year, Shirley Robertson Lee offers a thoroughly researched and passionate study of public education and school desegregation. By the time segregated schools ended in Lunenburg County in the fall of 1969, it had been nearly fifteen years since America’s racially segregated school systems were found to be unconstitutional in the case of Brown v. Board of Education on May 1, 1954. The first totally integrated Lunenburg senior class graduated in spring of 1970. Shirley Robertson Lee is a member of that class.
Advance praise for the book:
“Many people remember Brown v. Board of Education and think of that as the end of segregated schools in our country. The truth is, of course, infinitely more complicated. This book meticulously documents that transition and all that led up to it in one Virginia County. It is both scholarly and personal and will be of interest to educators and local government, but also to anyone who wants to understand the important history of mid-twentieth century America.”- STEPHANIE DEUTSCH, Author, You Need a Schoolhouse
“The telling of this story is important to Lunenburg County’s history; and I know that those who live here now, others who have journeyed from the County but stay connected, and others into the future will enjoy and learn from it. Shirley’s research was both thorough and very interesting in both the written word as well as her historical photograph collection. Well done and many thanks!” -STEPHEN S. ISRAEL, President, Lunenburg County Historical Society
(2017, Paperback, 314 pages)