Pulaski County School Board Minutes

Pulaski County School Board Minutes

Creator Pulaski County School Board
Description The Pulaski County School Board had, prior to 1954, received legal challenges from African American families wishing to improve the quality of education provided to their children. A 1939 petition demanding “equal school facilities to those enjoyed by white pupils” resulted in Pulaski County agreeing to pay tuition and provide bus transportation for the county’s Negro high school students to attend Christiansburg Industrial Institute a Quaker-founded black high school in nearby Montgomery County. Thus, in 1954 Pulaski County blacks went to segregated elementary schools and to high school at Christiansburg Industrial Institute (CII).
By this time CII was the “public” black high school for three school districts: Pulaski County, Montgomery County, and the City of Radford. CII was governed by a Control Board consisting of three representatives of each district, and these districts contributed financially to the maintenance of the Institute. Pulaski County School Board minute books therefore contain frequent reference to CII.
The 1954 Supreme Court decision abolishing segregated schools was ignored in Pulaski just as in most of Virginia. However, in 1956 six “Negro patrons of Pulaski County” requested that their children attend the nearest school regardless of race, color or creed. In December of that same year the State of Virginia created the Pupil Placement Board which assumed the power of enrollment for all Virginia public schools. The Pupil Placement Board denied this petition and subsequent requests from 18 CII pupils for transfer to Pulaski High School. Attorneys for the 18 students filed an appeal in Federal court and on April 21, 1960 a Federal judge declared that 14 of the 18 students could transfer to Pulaski High School that September. The remaining 4, along with CII students seeking transfer in the future, could transfer beginning the following year. Hence, partial desegregation in Pulaski County occurred well before the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
Board minutes for the period 1953 to 1967 trace the legally mandated but peaceful desegregation of Pulaski County Schools, the county’s financial contributions to and occasional commentary about Christiansburg Industrial Institute, issues concerning Pulaski’s black elementary schools (Calfee Training School and Wm. Gresham School) and their teachers, and the preparations for partial, then full desegregation. By 1967 neither the county’s black elementary schools nor CII existed. The minutes for that year also describe the disposition of CII’s assets.
Call number None
Date from January 1953
Date to December 1967
Geographic school Pulaski (Virginia) County Schools
Size .4 linear feet
Access restrictions yes/no None
Access restrictions None
Part Of larger collection yes/no
Larger collection title
URL None
Repository Pulaski County Schools
Repository address 202 N. Washington St., Pulaski, VA 24301
Repository contact name Brenda Crawford
Repository contact title
Repository contact email
Repository contact phone 540 994-2519
DoveRegion Region 1

o African Americans–Civil rights
o African American students
o African Americans–Segregation
o Public schools
o Race relations
o School children
o School closings
o School integration
o School integration–Massive resistance movement
o Segregation in education
o Christianburg Industrial Academy
o Public schools–Virginia — Pulaski County, VA
Types meeting minutes

3 Replies to “Pulaski County School Board Minutes”

  1. My brother and I were members of the group that integrated Pulaski High School in September, 1960, and I was the first to graduate from the school in 1961.

    1. Hello, Patricia. Thanks so much for the comment regarding you and your brother and Pulaski High School integration. Have you ever had your story recorded as an oral history before? Thanks so much -Robert Vay (rvay@gmu.edu)

  2. Hello. Just seeing this response question. No I have not had my story recorded as an oral history.

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