Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Couto


The Civil Rights movement is a field ripe for the study of leadership. In it, and many other social movements, there are evident many of the facets which we touch upon in the Jepson School. The contexts of formal organizations, many political systems, and countless community organizations can be seen in the Civil Rights movement. The fields of ethics and leading groups are also evident, and knowledge critical thinking and the theories of leadership are essential in any leadership circumstance. It would also be helpful if leaders in the Civil Rights movement were skilled in conflict resolution, motivation, leading individuals, the proper way to implement policy, decision making and effecting change, all subjects which are taught at the Jepson School. For this reason, the study of the Civil Rights movement and the events in Prince Edward County are extremely applicable.

In May of 1951, the students at R. R. Moton High school in Farmville, VA took a strong stand on the issue of segregation. Led by a Planning Committee, the students closed the school by going out on strike. This event played a small part in the civil rights movement, but is significant because it began as purely a student movement. Before it was over, the strike and the subsequent school closing would affect every person in Prince Edward County.

Edna Allen Bledsoe is a professor in the social work program at Longwood College. In 1951, she was twelve years old, in the seventh grade. The Moton High School started in the eighth grade, so she was just preparing to enter it. Her sister, in the eighth grade, was on the planning committee for the student strike.