The Last Full Measure – Founding of the Coast Guard

Lead: For 400 years service men and women have fought to carve out and defend freedom and the civilization we know as America. This series on A Moment in Time is devoted to the memory of those warriors, whose sacrifice gave, in the words of Lincoln at Gettysburg, the last full measure.

Content: The United States Coast Guard was founded in 1915, but its roots go far back into American history. Other agencies preceded it or became a part of this consolidation: The Revenue Cutter Service, often called the Revenue-Marine, the Lighthouse Service, the Steamboat Inspection Service, the Bureau of Navigation, and the Lifesaving Service.

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Last Full Measure: P-51 Mustang

Lead: For 400 years service men and women have fought to carve out and defend freedom and the civilization we know as America. This series on A Moment in Time is devoted to the memory of those warriors, whose devotion gave, in the words of Lincoln at Gettysburg, the last full measure.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the run-up to the Normandy invasion, the Allies faced a daunting problem. They had to secure air superiority in order to insure the invasion’s success. This meant that they had to destroy the Luftwaffe, the German Air Force. As long as Germany could continue to produce ample quantities of high quality fighter aircraft such as the Messerschmitt 109 and continue to train and bring experienced pilots on line, then the goal of removing German air power would go begging.

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Massive Resistance V

Lead: When massive resistance collapsed in Virginia in February, 1959, the white community of Prince Edward County continued its defiance of federal law by closing and keeping closed its public schools.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Supreme Court’s original case in 1954 was a consolidation of several cases, which was awarded the sobriquet, Brown v. Board. It could just have easily been Davis v. Board. In 1951, the NAACP brought suit against the School Board of Prince Edward County, an anchor county in Virginia’s agricultural Southside. Despite 45% black population, the black schools were abysmal and black citizens sued in an atmosphere of great bitterness to get improvements in their schools. The Court ultimate decided even well-funded segregated schools were unconstitutional, but bitterness in the Southside continued to fester, fed by NAACP agitation and inflammatory editorials in the Farmville Herald by publisher, J. Barrye Wall which, though they held high the constitutional banner of states rights, were a thinly disguised advocacy of racist segregation forever.

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Massive Resistance IV

Lead: The reaction of the Virginia’s leaders to desegregation orders in the 1950s was massive resistance. Surprisingly, the most effective opposition to this course came from white moderates seeking to save the public schools.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the aftermath of the 1954 Brown v. the Board of Education decision declaring segregated schools unconstitutional, Virginia political leaders led by Senator Harry Byrd and Governor Thomas B. Stanley, following the principal of massive resistance, passed the Stanley laws in the General Assembly of 1956. They denied state funding to integrated schools and gave the Governor power to close schools that attempted integration. When the NAACP secured Federal Court orders integrating schools in Norfolk, Charlottesville and Warrenton in 1958, then Governor Lindsay Almond closed those schools. Only then did Virginia’s moderates react.

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Massive Resistance III

Lead: After the Supreme Court declared segregated schools unconstitutional in 1954, Virginia leaders tried to incite massive resistance to integration. They were encouraged by a novel, but ultimately ludicrous, constitutional theory, interposition.

Intro. : A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the early days after the epochal Supreme Court decision, the reaction of Virginia’s leaders was muted, but then the returns from the Southside began to come in. Governor Stanley appointed a Commission to study the implications of the Court decision, and the so-called Gray Commission recommended a modified form of local option, which would allow some districts the chance to experiment with integration.

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Massive Resistance II

Lead: The reaction of the Virginia political establishment to the 1954 Supreme Court decision outlawing segregated schools was called massive resistance. The plan was the inspiration of the Byrd Machine.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote from the Birmingham jail in 1963 that “privileged groups rarely give up their privileges voluntarily.” Perhaps nowhere has that best been demonstrated than Virginia in the 1950s. The news that the U.S. Supreme Court had unanimously declared segregated schools to be inherently unequal, therefore unconstitutional, was greeted throughout the white South with a combination of unbelief, fear, and defiance. To achieve unanimity on the Court, Chief Justice Earl Warren dealt with the constitutional question first and delayed the process of implementation. The South had time to comply or defy. Except for North Carolina, which devised a system of token and isolated desegregation, for the most part the South chose defiance. As it did in 1861, with equally lamentable results, Virginia led the way.

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Massive Resistance I

Lead: After the Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that separate black schools were unconstitutional, Virginia’s white leadership resisted desegregation using legislation and theory, a campaign known as massive resistance.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: From its founding by Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr, the Democratic-Republican Party, now known as the Democrat Party, was an alliance of Northern urban, usually immigrant groups, and Southern agricultural interests. It dominated American politics from 1800 until 1856. The growing sectional conflict leading up to the Civil War split the party and, because they were seen as champions of the Union, political dominance shifted to the Republicans. Outside Northern cities, about the only place Democrats held significant power was in the South where by 1900 racist white conservatives had begun to erect the discriminatory edifice of laws suppressing black civil rights that came to be known as Jim Crow.

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The Man Pursued by War (McLean) II

Lead: In 1861 the first major battle in Virginia took place in the front yard of Wilmer McLean along Bull Run Creek. Seeking to protect his family from the fighting he moved them to south central Virginia.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: It was not uncommon for civilians to remove themselves from areas of intense fighting. Up to this point war was, for the most part, left to soldiers. As the war intensified Federal generals such as Sherman in Georgia and Sheridan in the Shenandoah Valley made destruction of civilian property a matter of military policy. Sherman, in particular, boasted that he had destroyed $100,000,000 in property during his dash from Atlanta to Savannah in the fall of 1864.

 

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