Standing Before the Shouting Mob: Lenoir Chambers and Virginia’s Massive Resistance to Public-School Integration by Alexander S. Leidholdt (review)

Standing Before the Shouting Mob: Lenoir Chambers and Virginia's Massive Resistance to Public-School Integration by Alexander S. Leidholdt (University of Alabama Press, 1997)

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Standing Before the Shouting Mob: Lenoir Chambers and Virginia’s Massive Resistance to Public-School Integration by Alexander S. Leidholdt (review)

by Carl Tobias
Southern Cultures, Vol. 4, No. 2: Summer 1998

University of Alabama Press, 1997

Alexander Leidholdt’s Standing Before the Shouting Mob is primarily a biographical account of Lenoir Chambers, the editorial page editor of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot. The book emphasizes the role that Chambers and the newspaper played in shaping public opinion during the half-decade period when Virginia practiced “massive resistance” to the desegregation of public schools. The closing and peaceful reopening of the Norfolk schools sounded the death knell for massive resistance in Virginia and undercut the state’s leadership role in preventing integration across the South. Indeed, Norfolk was arguably the linchpin in the long, divides struggle to implement the mandatee of Brown v. Board of Education.