Documenting the American South Logo
oral histories of the American South
Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Virginius Dabney, July 31, 1975. Interview A-0311-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

A gradual desegregation plan would help Virginians accept <cite>Brown</cite>

Massive resistance was a way for Virginians to have time to adjust to the radical nature of <cite>Brown</cite>. Dabney argues that Virginia should have followed the moderate approach of the Gray report.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Virginius Dabney, July 31, 1975. Interview A-0311-2. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

DANIEL JORDAN:
I don't have anything else except that in looking at the problem in retrospect and in mentioning Lindsay Almond in particular, what is the feeling of the people who lived through that era and who were active participants in one way or the other on massive resistance? Would you say that there is a particular sentiment that is dominant, or would it depend on the person that you are talking with?
VIRGINIUS DABNEY:
I think it depends on the person you are talking with. I heard Mills Godwin say that massive resistance can be defended on the ground that it bought time for Virginia to adjust to this radical decision that changed the whole way of life in this part of the country. I would say to a lesser degree that I think some sort of delaying action was necessary but not massive resistance. I think the Gray Commission would have provided a sufficient delay for adjustment. That was why I was opposed to massive resistance. I think that there was a better alternative.
DANIEL JORDAN:
What about Mr. Bryan and Donnahoe? Did they express their opinions in retrospect about it, to your knowledge?
VIRGINIUS DABNEY:
No, I don't know.
DANIEL JORDAN:
Nobody at the time, did they Mr. Dabney, say that the purpose of what Virginia was doing was to buy time?
VIRGINIUS DABNEY:
Yes, I think some did. They knew the resistance would not stand up.