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The Legacy of Jim Crow

FARMVILLE, Va. – Parents here are literally begging the Prince Edward County supervisors to increase property taxes next year to make up a $2 million shortfall in the public school budget and prevent teacher layoffs. But none of them are surprised that the supervisors have said no.

Jim CrowOver the past 60 years, this county government has been notoriously cheap, especially when it comes to paying for public education. In fact, the supervisors’ opposition to higher property tax rates has proven to be the most enduring remnant of the old Jim Crow era. This is, after all, the only local jurisdiction in the United States that actually abolished public education for five years – between 1959 and 1964 – to delay racial integration of the schools.

Dozens of parents and teachers showed up at the supervisors’ meeting on April 17 in what they already knew would be a futile effort to change the county’s reputation.

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