Governor Almond Signs the "Little Rock" Bill
In a photograph taken on February 18, 1958, Virginia state senator Earl Fitzpatrick looks on as Governor J. Lindsay Almond signs the "Little Rock" bill that strengthened public-school segregation and Massive Resistance laws throughout Virginia. After the 1954 and 1955 U.S. Supreme Court rulings in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas and Brown II, President Dwight D. Eisenhower dispatched the National Guard to help enforce integration in public schools in Little Rock, Arkansas. Anxious to avoid similar federal intervention in Virginia, Almond urged the General Assembly to grant him the power to close any Virginia school facing that prospect. A Democrat and a member of the conservative Byrd Organization, Almond closed public schools in Charlottesville, Norfolk, and Front Royal in September 1958 rather than see them integrated.