Sarah Patton Boyle and the crusade against Virginia's massive resistance

Murphy, Kathleen Anne, Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia
Gaston, Paul, Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia
Cross, Robert D., Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia
Ayers, Ed, Corcoran Department of History, University of Virginia

The NAACP, the courts, and the moderates for public education came out the heroes in the civil rights warfare of the 1950s. Sarah Patton Boyle failed to win her battle. Virginia's most outspoken white liberal was not able to lead the South to immediate, overall integration of the races.

Mrs. Boyle, nevertheless, played a significant role during the era of massive resistance. By taking an unpopular stand indeed, a subversive stand as many white Virginians believed she undoubtedly made the moderate position acceptable in comparison. In founding and promoting the Council on Human Relations she opened a valuable channel for interracial communication. Her speaking out emboldened others, both black and white, to speak out. At the same time she educated whites on the injustices directed at blacks. Although her words aroused fears and hostility among some citizens, they eased the fears and hostilities of others. More importantly, Mrs. Boyle's "radical" reform notions stirred discussion segregation could no longer be taken for granted. As she astutely observed, new ideas are typically rejected, but the more people talk about an idea, the more they become accustomed to it. Mrs. Boyle laid the groundwork for Southerners to become accustomed to social brotherhood among the races.

MA (Master of Arts)
Massive resistance, Segregation in education -- Virginia

Digitization of this thesis was made possible by a generous grant from the Jefferson Trust, 2015.

Thesis originally deposited on 2016-03-14 in version 1.28 of Libra. This thesis was migrated to Libra2 on 2017-03-23 16:34:35.

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