The Know-Nothing Party II

Lead: Formed to resist the flood of immigrants in the 1850s, the Know-Nothing Party made prejudice pay big dividends at the ballot box.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: By 1853 the Order of United Americans had chapters in towns all over the country. Riding a wave of resentment against the huge influx of German and Irish immigrants, the Order was better known as the Know-Nothing movement. Legend says that it took its name from what members said to questions about the Order's secret meetings - "I know nothing."

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The Know-Nothing Party I

Lead: In 1854 the Know-Nothing Party riding a wave of anti-immigrant prejudice, rolled up victory after victory. Except for the pre-Civil War Republicans, it was the best third party showing in American history.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The United States is nation of immigrants. Beginning with the Jamestown Colony in 1607, successive waves of aliens have sought a new life and prosperity in what they considered to be a land of opportunity. Crowding out the original Native Americans, whose ancient ancestors actually may have themselves emigrated from the eastern Asia, more strangers arrived each decade in search of a new home. Within a couple of generations, their families now firmly established, many of the newcomers considered themselves "native Americans" and looked with barely tolerant superiority at the next batch of immigrants spilling onto the docks of Boston, Philadelphia, and New York.

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Wannsee Conference III

Lead: During World War II the Nazi extermination of Jews and other genetically undesirable groups was reduced to banal bureaucratic efficiency.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: In the summer and early fall of 1941, nearly everywhere German Armies were triumphant. The plains of Russia passed quickly under the tracks of German tanks pressing ever-eastward into the Soviet heartland. In this euphoric period of Nazi hubris when all the world seem to bow in deference to their ambitions, the decision was made to move in a more systematic way to accomplish one of Hitler’s great desires, the total annihilation of the Jewish race and all other groups considered by the Nazis to be genetically inferior.

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Wannsee Conference II

Lead: In January 1942, a group of high-ranking Nazi bureaucrats met in the Berlin suburb of Grosse-Wannsee. Their host was Reinhard Heydrich, affectionately known as der henker, the hangman.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: The men were in Wannsee to plan the implementation of one of Adolf Hitler’s great desires: the continent-wide extermination of the Jewish race and all other groups he felt were genetically subhuman. Heydrich’s career as a German Naval Officer had been cut short in 1931 after an aborted flirtation with his civilian superior’s daughter, and he joined the Nazi SS. His talents soon attracted the attention of Heinrich Himmler, and as a result Heydrich’s rise to power was swift and decisive. After the Nazis came to power he helped Himmler consolidate party control over national police forces. By 1939 Heydrich was in charge of the Reich Central Security Office in charge of all police functions including the secret police, the Gestapo.

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Wannsee Conference I

Lead: On January 20, 1942, fourteen high-ranking Nazi officials gathered for a brief afternoon meeting in the Berlin suburb of Grossen-Wannsee. They met to organize the Holocaust.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: Adolf Hitler’s leadership style was unique. He would give general orders to his associates and then set them against one another in a bizarre bureaucratic survival of the fittest. Each of his henchmen would compete to demonstrate within his sphere of authority just how vigorous was his support for the Führer’s vision. In no other endeavor was this more clearly demonstrated than in the final solution to Judenfrage, the “Jewish question.

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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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