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Prince Edward County Negro Youth Describes Lack of Federal Action

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"Cambridge High and Latin is a long way from Prince Edward County, Virginia," says Henry Cabarrus, an 18-year-old CHLS junior, "but I'll be going to school here until the federal courts stop talking and start doing something about opening the county schools the Negroes were locked out of in 1959. We thought Bobby Kennedy would do some pushing for us last fall, but he didn't come through."

Cabarrus, who is here under the sponsorship of the American Friends Service Committee, thinks that if left to themselves, both the Negroes and the whites in the Virginia tobacco farming community will allow the three-year-old problem to last indefinitely. The school board officials have set up a "private school" for whites and have refused to appropriate state money for its school if it means integration. Most of the Negro families that could have led resistance in the community have moved to places where their children could go to school.

The situation is building up alot of hostile feelings among the Negroes and the poor whites who cannot afford the tuition, but no one is around to organize action. "So everyone just sits around, frustrated," Cabarrus says. About 1400 of the Negro kids and the poor whites have been working on farms or playing football in the streets for the past three years in Prince Edward County.

Lose Credit Rating

The middle-class whites who haven't moved away have become more militantly segregationist, Cabarrus adds. "It used to be that the Negroes could visit the white families in town; may be not in the best room, but they were friendly. Now even your old friends among the whites try not to see you on the street. Many Negro families have lost their credit rating in white stores, since the controversy began."

Cabarrus spent the two years in an Ohio high school before coming to Cambridge. He plans to enlist in the Navy after graduation and hopes the Navy will send him through college.

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