HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 8

(8) The NAACP continued the battle in the courts while Griffin, chairman of the Moton P.T.A. at the time of the strike, continued efforts at the local level. In 1963, he circulated a petition throughout the County requesting that President Kennedy sponsor a survey to study the educational problem in Prince Edward County. The President was also asked to support a program that would prepare the students for re-entering the educational system. A report on the survey results stated that the federal government could not operate or finance schools in Prince Edward County.

However, the report identified the needs of the Black children who had been out of school for four years. The Prince Edward County Free School System, created in 1963, was comprised of four schools leased from the county: Moton I, Moton II, and Worsham. It was intended to run for only one year after which, it was hoped, the regular public schools would reopen. This federally initiated, state-sponsored and privately funded free school system helped to bridge the gap. The Prince Edward Free School System, utilizing existing facilities, (with the permission of the school board) received support from President Kennedy and accreditation from the state department of education. Former Governor Colgate Darden was among the trustees. Three White children attended the Free Association with the Black children. The Free School System operated until the public schools were re-opened.