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Widow of man who sued to desegregate Virginia schools 'thankful' for 'really beautiful' tribute

'Hard-working' man 'believed in what’s right,' says Mrs. Green
Posted at 7:55 PM, Jan 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-02 21:37:39-05

NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. -- A new historical marker in New Kent County commemorates the court battle that help desegregate Virginia's public schools.

“I don’t think anybody knew at the time which way it was going to go," Charles Green, Dr. Calvin Coolidge Green's son, recalled. "It actually took three years from 65 when it was first filed to 1968 when it was adjudicated and decided.”

That case of Green vs. School Board of New Kent County was filed by Dr. Green with the help of community members and the NAACP after the school board denied his petition to desegregate schools.

"It started as something small," said Green's youngest son, Charles, who the court case was named after. "And I hope people can see how important they can be from grass-roots level and you never know where it's going to go. But if you don’t say anything, you won’t get anything in return."

Green’s sons and wife gathered for the unveiling of the marker Saturday outside what used to be the New Kent's middle and high school.

"It’s really beautiful and I’m thankful that I could see this," said Mary Green, Dr. Green's wife of 54 years.

Mrs. Green reflected on her late husband’s impact and character.

“My husband was a hard-working person, he believed in what’s right for everybody," Mrs. Green said.

The case was eventually be heard by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1968. The high court sided with Green to "ensure racial balance in schools," according to the Virgina Musuem of History and Culture.

"Nobody knew, I don’t think," Charles Green said."But looking back of course, phenomenal."

He hopes the moment in history will be taught at grade levels and discussed for years to come.

“New Kent County has added it to their curriculum," Charles said. "I think it's going to go a little bit more statewide in the coming years and hopefully word will get out about the grassroots level.”

Click here to read the complete Supreme Court filing or click here to listen to the oral arguments in the case.