Galax High School

In September 1960 Federal District Judge John Paul ordered black students to be admitted to Galax High School from Grayson County. Several hundred Grayson County white students in a neighborhood abutting Galax City attended the city high school. A ten-year-old agreement between the county and city provided for these county students to go to the Galax City schools. In response to the federal court order to desegregate Galax High School with black students from the Grayson neighborhood, the Galax City School Board hastily assembled and voted to rescind the city's longstanding agreement with Grayson. The action put 285 white Grayson students out of Galax High School, and students were told to leave immediately. Crying and gathering their books quickly, these students were outraged by the city's decision to oust them rather than accept token integration in Galax High School. Black students in Grayson and Floyd counties had no high school to attend. Those in Grayson traveled a 90-mile round trip to Wytheville to attend Scott Memorial High School and those in Floyd traveled to neighboring Montgomery County to attend the Christiansburg Institute. White students at Galax, both those from the city and from Grayson County, organized a petition to appeal to the Galax City School Board. They gathered 590 signatures out of 598 students in the school to ask the city to restore the agreement with Grayson and accept the integration of Galax High School. After failing to gain a stay to delay the federal court's order, the city school board agreed to restore the agreement with the county and desegregation quietly proceeded. (Washington Post, September 10, 1960 and September 11, 1960, New York Times, September 10, 1960)