Locked Out: The Fall of Massive Resistance

October 21, 2009

A documentary produced by the University of Virginia Center for Politics and WCVE PBS Richmond film will premiere at Robert Russa Moton Museum on Friday, October 23 at 6:30 PM. The one-hour documentary, “Locked Out: The Fall of Massive Resistance,”explores the tragedies and triumphs of the children of Virginia who found themselves on the front lines of a cultural war that desegregated Virginia’s public schools, and forever altered American history. The former Moton High School, now the Robert Russa Moton Museum was at the center of Massive Resistance. Student led protest at Moton High School in 1951 would become part of the historic Brown vs. Board of Education of Topeka Kansas Supreme Court decision.
“Locked Out” documents the effects of Virginia’s “Massive Resistance” on school desegregation a half century ago through personal interviews with former students, political leaders and civil rights historians from all over the state. The documentary also features former Virginia Governors Linwood Holton and Douglas Wilder and Professor Larry Sabato.
Following a mandate by the U.S. Supreme Court to desegregate, Virginia’s government instead chose to lead a movement called Massive Resistance that affected the lives of school children across most of the South, and left a permanent scar on the history of the entire nation. “Locked Out” offers first-hand accounts of the negative effects of this concerted abuse of public power and yet how it also paved the way for future progress. In 1989, 30 years after the fall of Massive Resistance, Virginia would become the first state to elect an African-American governor. In 2008, exactly 50 years after the first Virginia school was closed, Barack Obama carried the Commonwealth in the presidential election.
Following the Museum premiere, “Locked Out” will air statewide on November 16 at 9 p.m. on most PBS stations. The documentary is also one of the featured films at this year’s Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville. In February 2010, the documentary will be distributed to PBS stations nationwide in conjunction with Black History Month.
The Community Idea Stations are a family of stations that include WCVE PBS and WHTJ PBS, and are a primary provider of local productions, with weekly programs and local documentaries and specials which have been accepted for national distribution by PBS and American Public Television.
Founded in 1998 by political analyst and Professor Larry J. Sabato, the University of Virginia Center for Politics (www.centerforpolitics.org) is a non-partisan institute that seeks to promote the value of politics, improve civics education, and increase civic participation through comprehensive research, pragmatic analysis, and innovative educational programs.