New Kent School and the George W. Watkins School

New Kent School and the George W. Watkins School

The New Kent School and the George W. Watkins School, located in New Kent County, Virginia, are associated with the most significant public school desegregation case the U.S. Supreme Court decided after Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.

While Brown determined that separate schools were inherently unequal, it did not define the process by which schools would be desegregated. The 1968 Charles C. Green, et al., v. County School Board of New Kent County, Virginia, et al. decision defined the standards by which the Court judged whether a violation of the U.S. Constitution had been remedied in school desegregation cases.

Henceforth, a decade of massive resistance to school desegregation in the South from 1955-1964 would be replaced by an era of massive integration from 1968-1973, as the Court placed an affirmative duty on school boards to integrate schools.

The New Kent and George W. Watkins schools illustrate the typical characteristics of a southern rural school system that achieved token desegregation following the Brown decision. They stand as a symbol to the efforts of the modern Civil Rights Movement of 1954-1970 to expand the rights of black citizens in the United States.

The schools were nominated as National Historic Landmarks as part of the Racial Desegregation in Public Education in the United States Theme Study in 2001.