Inquiry: The Journal of the Virginia Community Colleges

Author Bio(s)

Richard Hodges, Ed.D. is the Director of Learning Resources for Thomas Nelson Community College. While serving as Director, Richard previously served as Interim Provost for Thomas Nelson's Historic Triangle Campus in Williamsburg. He holds a bachelor’s degree in applied music from Wichita State University, a master’s degree in applied music from the University of Mississippi, a master’s degree in library and information science from Louisiana State University and a doctor of education from William & Mary. Along with his library background, Richard has appeared as saxophone soloist in Europe, Canada, and throughout the United States including his debut recital in Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in New York City. He is the author of Thomas Nelson Community College: part of the Campus History Series published by Arcadia Publishing.


The 1954 rulings in the United States Supreme Court cases of Brown v Board of Education was a landmark event in civil rights history. As momentous as the rulings were, they were not embraced by many Southern politicians. This was especially true in Virginia where Harry F. Byrd, Sr., U. S. Senator from Virginia, embarked on a campaign to massively resist court ordered school desegregation. Over the course of the next several years, Virginia's leaders would pass laws specifically designed to undermine the Brown rulings. These laws, known as massive resistance would, among other things, grant the governor the power to close any school or school district attempting to comply with Brown. The results of implementation of these laws had catastrophic results socially, economically, educationally and on Virginia's national reputation. By 1959 massive resistance laws were declared unconstitutional by both state and federal courts, allowing Virginia the chance to undo this self-inflicted damage. An unintended consequence of massive resistance was the erosion and stagnation of its manufacturing sector. To rebuild the state's workforce, technical training on a large scale was necessary. To take on this herculean task the creation of a statewide system of technical colleges was needed. In 1964, the Virginia Technical College System (VTCS) was founded. This system exists today as the Virginia Community College System (VCCS). The creation of these colleges were a direct result of Virginia's ill-conceived response to Brown. Funding had been available for many years to support technical training, but it took the contested environment created by massive resistance to make the creation of a statewide system of technical education a reality.



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