June 10th, 1954

Southern Governors Meet in Richmond, Virginia, to Plan Continued School Segregation

On June 10, 1954, governors and representatives from twelve Southern states met in Richmond, Virginia, and resolved not to voluntarily comply with the United States Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education, released less than a month earlier. Virginia Governor Thomas Stanley called the meeting to discuss potential approaches the Southern states could take in responding to Brown. The governors of Georgia, South Carolina, and Mississippi had publicly stated their intent to maintain the separation of white and black students, even if it required them to dissolve the public education systems in their respective states. The governors of Louisiana, North Carolina, and Virginia had been less radical but had expressed an interest in legal methods of avoiding integration.

Representatives met for six hours to discuss their concerns. In the end, only representatives from Maryland, West Virginia, and Kentucky - states with comparatively small African American populations - indicated they would comply with the desegregation order.

Said Governor Stanley of the meeting, "No one had any thought of doing anything wrong. Everyone is just trying to find a solution to what they consider a major problem." It was not until a later meeting of Southern governors, in January 1956, that Southern officials created a concrete plan for resisting Brown. At that meeting, four Southern governors agreed to interposition, by which a state can attempt to declare federal actions unconstitutional.