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News Releases @ TCC


~ Panel discussion on school desegregation by Norfolk educators
~ Talk on civil rights protection in Portsmouth


NORFOLK, Va. – (Feb. 9, 2005) – Honoring Women’s History Month, Tidewater Community College’s Women Center focuses on two events following the theme of civil rights and women’s voices.

Kicking off the month, the Women’s Center hosts a panel discussion on school desegregation and the instrumental role of women in battling Jim Crow laws in Norfolk. Women’s Voices For Equality will be held at 7 p.m. on March 1 at the TCC Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center, 340 Granby St., Norfolk. The event is free and open to the public.

The women will describe the fight for equality in public education during and after “Massive Resistance.” The panel discussion will be moderated by Cassandra Newby-Alexander, Ph.D., associate professor of history, Norfolk State University. Panelists include LaVerna Forbes, one of the 17 black high school students who qualified to go to a white school prior to the school closing; Celestyne Diggs Porter, a teacher at an all-black school prior to the resistance who also worked as a supervisor in the school system after desegregation; and Theresa Whibley, current chair of the Norfolk School Board.

Background: Granby High opened its doors in September 1939 as the second white-only public high school in Norfolk. However, rulings in Brown v. The Board of Education threatened segregated schools.

On May 17, 1954, the United States Supreme Court declared segregated schools contrary to the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution. Virginia, with other southern states, mobilized against what they perceived as a violation of states’ rights. To offset the court’s decision Virginia’s General Assembly embarked on a program of “Massive Resistance.”

Massive Resistance, a term coined by Harry F. Byrd Sr., head of Virginia’s Democratic Organization and a leader among southern congressmen and senators, employed a series of legislative enactments to “defend” Virginia’s public schools from integration. The major provision decreed that integrated schools would not be entitled to any operational funds from the state treasury. In 1958, federal district courts in Virginia ordered schools in Arlington, Charlottesville, Norfolk and Warren County to desegregate. To circumvent the courts’ orders, Gov. J. Lindsay Almond Jr. closed the schools in Warren County Sept. 8. Meanwhile, in the hopes of finding a solution, Charlottesville and Norfolk postponed the opening of their schools. But, on Sept. 19, Almond closed two schools in Charlottesville and on Sept. 27 he closed another six schools in Norfolk. Warren County and Charlottesville, given the size of their school systems, were able to provide adequate schooling, either private or otherwise, during the crisis. In Norfolk, however, the citizens were not prepared for the displacement of 10,000 students.

Bringing the discussion around to another South Hampton Roads city, TCC invites the public to a talk on Civil Rights Issues in Portsmouth Today by City Councilwoman Marlene Randall. She will discuss how the city of Portsmouth ensures the civil rights of all people. Learn about issues relevant today during the talk at the Portsmouth Campus Theater on March 24 from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. This event is co-sponsored by TCC Student Activities.

For more information, call the TCC Women’s Center at 822-1538.


Laurie White
Media Relations

Tidewater Community College is the second largest of the 23 community colleges in the Commonwealth of Virginia, enrolling more than 35,000 students annually. The 37th largest in the nation’s 1,600 community-college network, TCC ranks among the 50 fastest-growing large community colleges. Founded in 1968 as a part of the Virginia Community College System, the college serves the South Hampton Roads region with campuses in Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach as well as the TCC Jeanne and George Roper Performing Arts Center in the theater district in downtown Norfolk, the Visual Arts Center in Olde Towne Portsmouth and a regional Advanced Technology Center in Virginia Beach. Forty-four percent of the region’s residents attending a college or university in Virginia last fall were enrolled at TCC. For more information, visit