Essays and Interpretations
Television News and the Civil Rights Struggle: The Views in Virginia and Mississippi, Southern Spaces, November 2004
William G. Thomas III, University of Virginia

This essay argues that local television news broadcasts in Virginia in the fifties began to address the segregation issue in ways substantially more balanced and desegregated than the print media, while a major television station in Jackson, Mississippi, worked hard to defend segregation and deny access to opposing voices, both local and national. It is often suggested that national television news coverage of the civil rights movement helped transform the United States by showing Americans the violence of segregation and the dignity of the African American quest for equal rights. In the American South, local television news coverage had immediate and significant effects.

Virginia's Massive Resistance to School Desegregation
William G. Thomas, III, University of Virginia

This overview essay summarizes Virginia's massive resistance program and how scholars have interpreted it. Black and white Virginians in the 1950s and 1960s participated in transformative events, from Supreme Court litigation to civil rights demonstrations. In writing about the period, some scholars have focused intently on the Byrd Organization political machine. This essay calls for a wider focus.

HIUS 401 Student Essays

These essays were selected for publication from a University of Virginia history major thesis course in Fall 2004 on "The Civil Rights Era in Virginia." Selection was based on the quality of the research and writing, the topic's significance, and the level of general interest in the topic. Each of these essays charts new ground in how we think about the civil rights era in Virginia.

"Massive Resistance" in The Ground Beneath Our Feet: Virginia's History Since the Civil War, WCVE Richmond, 2002.
George H. Gilliam and William G. Thomas, III, University of Virginia

This video documentary traces the history of Massive Resistance in Virginia with a particular focus on the events in Charlottesville and Farmville/Prince Edward County. The video is availabe for purchase through WCVE Richmond, the Community Idea Stations.