Plaintiffs Exhibit, Davis v. Prince Edward Co., May 1956

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May, 1956.

County is absolutely necessary and do affirm that we prefer to abandon public schools and educate our children in some other way if that be necessary to preserve separation of the races in the schools of this county.

We pledge our support of the Board of Supervisors of Prince Edward County int heir firm maintenance of this policy.”

Mr. Brooks also read the following “Declaration”, which he stated has been approved by a large group of representative citizens of this county:

“The power of the Federal Courts being once again invoked against the administrative officers of our public schools for the purpose of causing children of the white and negro race to be taught together therein, we the people of Prince Edward County, Virginia, deem it appropriate that we should make known to all men our convictions and our purposes.

“We first affirm our deep and abiding loyalty and devotion to our country and its institutions. We acknowledge the Constitution to be the supreme law of the land and the bulwark of our liberties, ever subject to the sovereign powers reserved by it to the states and to the people. We know that the liberties of all Americans of all races rests upon the Constitution and the division of powers ordained therein. We deem it the obligation of free men to preserve the powers reserved under the Constitution to the states and to the people and to preserve the constitutional separation of the powers of government in the legislative, executive and judicial branches separately.

“We believe that the best educational, social and cultural welfare and growth of both the white and negro races is best served by separation of the races in the public schools.

“We believe the tranquility, harmony, progress and advancement of the negro and the white races, who must live together in Virginia and in Prince Edward County, is absolutely dependent upon the mutual good will and mutual respect of each race for the other.

“We believe that a policy which undertakes to force the association of one race with the other against the will of either, by court decree, under thread of fine or imprisonment, is destructive of mutual good will and respect, breeds resentment and animosities, and is injurious to the true interests of both races.

“We believe that the molding of the minds and characters of our children is the sacred duty and the priceless natural right and obligation of the parents.

“Freedom of decision with respect to these considerations touching as they do the most intimate relations of the people of our community and the most cherished natural rights and duties of parenthood is absolutely essential to the maintenance, operation, management and control of our public schools. We conceive this freedom to be among the sacred rights “retained by the people” under the Nineth Amendment of the Federal Constitution.

“Among the reserved rights and powers of the states, guaranteed to the State of Virginia under the Tenth Amendment, is the power to maintain racially separate public schools. We do not perceive that the exercise of this power has ever been prohibited to the states by any provision of the Federal Constitution. We believe that this power can be prohibited to the states only by the states themselves.  To concede the right of a Federal Court to withdraw this power from the individual