© 2023
Virginia's Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Descendants of Massive Resistance victims may soon be eligible for scholarships


Governor Glenn Youngkin is considering a bill aimed at providing reparations for Massive Resistance.

Massive Resistance was a period in Virginia history when public schools closed rather than integrate Black students and white students. As a result, many students lost years of education. That's why Virginia created a special scholarship program 20 years ago. And now, Delegate Kaye Kory is a Democrat from Fairfax County who wants to make that fund available to descendants.

"Right now, there is a million dollars in that fund, which is from private contributions, that is not being used because that population has mostly aged out," Kory explains. "And, my bill will allow lineal descendants and collateral descendants as well, which is like a cousin, to be eligible for scholarships."

Cainan Townsend with the Moton Museum in Farmville says the harm caused by Massive Resistance is still with us.

"The schools closing in these areas – it didn’t just impact the folks who were locked out of school, right? It certainly did, and obviously those were the first and foremost people who were impacted," Townsend explains. "But opening it up to descendants really goes to show how cyclical and how generations have been impacted by the way this history broke down."

The bill has already passed the House and the Senate and is now on its way to the governor's desk.

This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.

Michael Pope is an author and journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria.