Virginia was a battleground state in the struggle to implement Brown v. Board of Education, with one of the South’s largest and strongest NAACP units fighting against a program of noncompliance crafted by the state’s political leaders. Keep On Keeping On offers a detailed examination of how African Americans and the NAACP in Virginia successfully pursued a legal agenda that provided new educational opportunities for the state’s black population in the face of fierce opposition from segregationists and the Democratic Party of Harry F. Byrd Sr.
Keep On Keeping On is the first book to offer a comprehensive view of African Americans’ efforts to obtain racial equality in Virginia in the later twentieth century. Brian J. Daugherity considers the relationship between the various levels of the NAACP, the ideas and actions of other African American organizations, and the stances of Virginia’s political leaders, white liberals and moderates, and segregationists. In doing so, the author provides a better understanding of the connections between the actions of white political leaders and those of black civil rights activists working to bring about school desegregation. Blending social, legal, southern, and African American history, this book sheds new light on the civil rights movement and white resistance to civil rights in Virginia and the South.
Brian Daugherity's useful overview of desegregation in Virginia is particularly valuable in bringing out the important roles of the state and local branches of the NAACP, which have not previously received the attention they deserve. His study should guide others as they examine desegregation in other states.
The story of the NAACP-led fight for school desegregation in Virginia in the decades following the 1954 Brown ruling has been one of the great untold stories of the civil rights era—until now. In this compelling and important book, Brian Daugherity tells how a dynamic corps of lawyers, local leaders, and communities navigated the fierce white resistance that met the Supreme Court’s ruling in Virginia and mounted an enduring and powerful effort to realize Brown’s mandate and secure quality education for black children. Keep On Keeping Onbrings fresh insight to the hard-won achievements of the civil rights movement and sheds critical historical light on the racial inequities and division that continue to subvert the opportunities of countless children in Virginia and beyond.
Daugherity offers a fast-paced, well-written survey of the school desegregation debates that shaped Virginia during the mid-twentieth century.... an excellent book that makes a fine contribution to the growing body of literature on civil rights in Virginia.
[T]he recent literature has not strayed far from Farmville and Prince Edward County, Virginia. This spotlight obscures other competing local and state narratives. Recognizing this limitation, Daugherity recasts the statewide narrative by zooming out. Consequently, he offers a more expansive account of school desegregation and, more broadly, civil rights struggles in Virginia....[A] necessary addition to the historiography of the civil rights movement and education. Daugherity reveals the role a statewide NAACP played in fighting educational inequality through the courts and direct action. He also unveils the resistance tactics that white local and state politicians in Virginia employed.