Education

Fighting for School Desegregation: An Interview With John A. Stokes (Video)

By Stacey Decker — February 16, 2016 1 min read

Guest post by Stacey Decker

“We saw that we were being cheated out of an education and we decided that we would do something about it.” — John A. Stokes, plaintiff in Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County (1952)

Not long ago, Education Week noted the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka decision, which struck down the principle of “separate but equal” education. For the special package, we reached out to important figures in the fight for school desegregation. That’s how we met John A. Stokes, whose story is worth revisiting this Black History Month.

In 1951, Stokes and other students at his Virginia school went on strike over the condition of their school building, which was far from “equal” to the buildings attended by their white peers. The court case that followed was one of five that were folded into Brown v. Board of Ed.

In this 2014 video, hear Stokes’ account of how he became involved in the desegregation movement and the message he wants to share with students today.

For more, check out these interviews with others involved in school-desegregation cases and watch a 2003 interview with Stokes from Virginia Commonwealth University’s digital archives.

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A version of this news article first appeared in the On Air: A Video Blog blog.