Defenders of State Sovereignty and Individual Liberties

The Defenders formed in the wake of the Brown v. Board of Education decision as a group dedicated to resisting the Court's decision and to maintaining segregation in all aspects of Southern life. The organization began in Farmville, Virginia, under the leadership of Robert Crawford, a local businessman, and with the encouragement of Barrye Wall, the publisher and editor of the Farmville Herald newspaper. The Defenders distinguished their organization from the Ku Klux Klan and advocated reasoned defense of segregation not violence or lawlessness. Chapters formed across Virginia, in Charlottesville, Arlington, Norfolk, and Richmond. The organization claimed over 10,000 members at its peak.