Join us Tues., Sept. 1, 5 – 7 pm, as we welcome award-winning journalist Kristen Green, author of Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County: A Family, a Virginia Town, a Civil Rights Battle (HarperCollins, 336 pp., hb., $26). Ms. Green will discuss her personal connection to this fascinating, painful history, and how it relates to the issue of school integration today.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s unanimous Brown v. Board of Education decision, Virginia’s Prince Edward County refused to obey the law. Rather than desegregate, the county closed its public schools, locking and chaining the doors. The community’s white leaders quickly established a private academy, commandeering supplies from the shuttered public schools to use in their all-white classrooms. Meanwhile, black parents had few options: keep their kids at home, move across county lines, or send them to live with relatives in other states. For five years, the public schools remained closed.
Kristen Green, a longtime newspaper reporter, grew up in Farmville and attended the private Prince Edward Academy, which did not admit black students until 1986, when she was in the eighth grade. In her journey to uncover what happened in her hometown before she was born, Green tells the stories of families divided by the school closures and of 1,700 black children denied an education. As she peels back the layers of this haunting period in our nation’s past, her own family’s role—no less complex and painful—comes to light.
Kristen Green has worked for two decades as a journalist at newspapers including The San Diego Union-Tribune and the Boston Globe. She has been awarded the Best of Gannett Outstanding Achievement in Writing, and her work has been recognized by the San Diego Society of Professional Journalists and the National Headliner Awards. Kristen also received a fellowship from the Scripps Howard Institute on the Environment at University of Colorado at Boulder. Kristen has a Master in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School. She and her husband, Jason Hamilton, and their two young daughters live in Richmond, Va.