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Interview with Delegate Robert Whitehead
(WDBJ Television, Roanoke, VA)

Delegate Robert Whitehead, Nelson County, called Governor Thomas B. Stanley's speech at the 1956 Special Session of the General Assembly "a complete departure" from the conservativism of Virginia and "a breach of faith." Whitehead argued it was a "backdoor attempt" to destroy the public schools of Virginia. Whitehead called for a clear referendum on "the abolition" of public schools to let the people decide such a momentous issue. Regarding Stanley's proposal to withhold money from Virginia's integrated public schools, Whitehead said he and others have opposed similar legislation. The federal Powell Amendment was the example Whitehead cited. According to the 1956 amendment sponsored by New York Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., a state that received federal money for educational purposes was obligated not to discriminate on the bases of race. Congress did not adopt the Powell Amendment in 1956. Nevertheless, Whitehead said Stanley's proposal to withhold money from integrated public schools was a Powell Amendment principle "in reverse."
About the film
  • Date: August 27, 1956
  • Sound: Yes
  • Duration: 01:02
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