Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Robert C. Kenzer

Second Advisor

Dr. Woody Holton

Third Advisor

Dr. John L. Gordon, Jr.


This thesis reveals the historical narrative of the civil rights campaigns in Richmond and Danville, Virginia, from 1959 to 1963, emphasizing how protesters experienced the movement through direct action and examining the way an inherited philosophy and strategy of non-violent protest was employed by demonstrators. Furthermore, it analyzes the role of Virginia as an Upper South state during the movement. The evidence presented verifies a direct correlation between community size, economic foundations, and social outlooks and the community's level of resistance to direct action tactics and youth leadership of the movement. Protests were successful in urban areas such as Richmond because greater economic diversity, demands to integrate because of financial losses during boycotts, and the presence of political moderates warranted the death of Jim Crow. Protesters encountered resistance in tobacco and textile towns like Danville because such communities lacked economic diversity and subscribed to traditional Jim Crow structures of segregation.

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