Robert Crawford

Robert Crawford owned a dry cleaning business in Farmville, Virginia, and was leader of state and national dry cleaning and laundry associations. Crawford served as a member of the Prince Edward County School Board for fifteen years. In 1955 he founded The Defenders of State Sovereignty and Individual Liberties, an organization to respond to federal court desegregation orders and organize resistance to them. The Defenders of State Sovereignty and Individual Liberties organized chapters throughout Virginia, put out press releases on the desegregation issue, and helped establish private segregated academies throughout Virginia. The Crawford was a careful, reasoned spokesman for white supremacy and segregated schools. In remarks and interviews he often steered the debate away from the topic of discrimination and toward the constitutional implications of federal encroachment on the rights of states.