In the 1950s and 1960s, Prince Edward County became a pivotal battleground in the effort to desegregate public education in the United States. Students at Robert Russa Moton High School, the local high school for African American students, began a protest of inadequate school facilities in 1951 that eventually led to the case becoming part of the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision.
In 1959, rather than comply with court orders to desegregate, county leaders shut down all public schools in Prince Edward County and did not reopen them until 1964. This dramatic series of events shaped the county’s history in profound ways, particularly the young people who were most directly affected by the school closing.
Some of those young people began publishing a grassroots newspaper, the Voice of Prince Edward County, in the late 1960s to continue their activism, demanding better representation from local political leaders, improved opportunity for African Americans in the county, and more accountability for the lingering effects of the school closures. Hampden-Sydney College's Bortz Library has in its collection an almost full run of the paper, which was published from 1965-1969.