Case 2 of “The Virginia Way of Life Must Be Preserved” Exhibit

Case 2 of “The Virginia Way of Life Must Be Preserved” Exhibit
Colleges In Virginia
Image by Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library
Shown here is an image of Case 2 from the exhibit "The Virginia Way of Life Must Be Preserved", on display in the Nancy Marshall Gallery on the 1st floor of Swem Library at the College of William & Mary. This exhibit is part of "From Fights to Rights: The Long Road to a More Perfect Union," Swem Library’s project to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War and the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement. The exhibit is on display from June 18-October 22, 2012.

The following is a transcription of the labels presented in this section of the case:


The materials in this section represent a tiny fraction of the thousands of pro-segregation letters and documents in Swem’s collections. Those who favored segregation gave a variety of reasons, but the most emotional was a fear that integration of schools would lead to race mixing, including interracial marriages. U.S. Senator A. Willis Robertson, a Democrat and crony of Harry Byrd’s, received letters from all over the state. He is pictured here speaking at William & Mary’s commencement in 1957, when the College awarded him an honorary degree. State Senator (and later Governor) Mills Godwin, Jr. (W&M ’34), also pictured here, was a Democrat who served on the Gray Commission and received letters primarily from his Southside constituents. U.S. Representative William Tuck (W&M ’17), another Democrat, received letters not just from his Southside district but also from across the state, because he was a former governor and one of the leading segregationists in Virginia. He helped found the extremely pro-segregation Defenders of State Sovereignty and Individual Liberties. His correspondents included extremists who advocated removal of the black population to Africa and the assassination of the president, vice president, and the entire Supreme Court.

From the Special Collections Research Center, Earl Gregg Swem Library at the College of William and Mary. See for further information and assistance.

Comments are closed.