The New Face of Massive Resistance — Anderson, Candland and Lawson Threaten Schools in Defense of Segregationist

Anderson

The weekly Prince William Today reported in its April 29th edition that Prince William County Republican Supervisors Ruth Anderson, Pete Candland, and Jeanine Lawson have been threatening substantial reductions in school funding in response to the School Board’s recent decision to strike the name of a Virginia segregationist from a Neabsco district middle school. Other Republicans on the Board have joined with Democrats John Jenkins and Frank Principi in blocking the move.

According to Prince William Today, the three supervisors proposed “slashing the RSA [Revenue Sharing Agreement] to 54 percent, which Candland, Lawson and Anderson dubbed ‘fixing the revenue sharing agreement.’” Again according to Prince William Today, “Candland hinted that the move was partly in response to the School Board’s recent decision to change the name of Mills E. Godwin Middle to George M. Hampton Middle, in part because Godwin, a former Virginia governor, supported school segregation as a state senator in the 1950s and 1960s.”

As reported in previous postings on the Muckraker, the school was named for Godwin in 1970, after completion of his first term as governor and during the period of white conservative backlash against advances in civil rights for blacks during the middle and late 1960s. Godwin had been a leader of Virginia’s “Massive Resistance” response to federally-mandated desegregation of the public schools. Virginia’s repugnant policy involved localities closing public schools rather than allowing black school children to attend with whites. The state legislature even allocated millions of taxpayer dollars to pay for white students to attend private schools while the public schools were closed, leaving black children and some poor whites without schooling for up to five years. After the Democratic Party’s formal embrace of the Civil Rights Movement, Godwin joined numerous other white conservatives and jumped to the Republican Party as part of the latter’s notorious “Southern Strategy,” which used racial animus toward civil rights advances to lure over Southern Democrats.

The original School Board vote to remove Godwin’s name was 8-0. Soon thereafter, however, Supervisors Anderson, Candland, and Lawson began a full-court press to defend Godwin and revoke the name change. Candland and Lawson spoke out against the change from the dais of the Board of County Supervisors. In perhaps the most astounding move, however, Supervisor Ruth Anderson’s husband, Delegate Rich Anderson (R-51), appeared before the School Board to argue that Godwin was worthy of honor because “he navigated a very dark period in American history.” People opposed to the name change had made reasonable arguments about the lack of community input and even about traditional loyalty to the name given how long it had been associated with the school. No one except a very limited number that included the county’s most notorious bigots, however, had taken the position, as Anderson did, that it would be appropriate to honor the unrepentant segregationist Godwin today, in 2016, with the name of a middle school.

Not surprisingly, the three Republican members of the School Board, Alyson Satterwhite (Gainesville), Gil Trenum (Brentsville), and Willie Deutsch (Coles) forced a vote to rescind the name change. Democrats prevailed 5-3 to prevent the move, but it was not lost on supporters of the name change that the three School Board members who reversed themselves and voted for rescinding all hail not only from outside the district where the minority-majority school was located, but represent magisterial districts in Prince William County with an overwhelming white majority.

For many this seemed a painful reminder of history repeating itself, as a number of name change opponents had complained that the school had been named for Godwin 45 years ago without complaint. 45 years ago – during the backlash against civil rights advances and when, according to census figures, the black population of Prince William County was less than 6%. In fact, at that time in 1970 the percentage of the population of Prince William County that was white was at its historical high – higher than it has ever been since data collection started in 1790.

Foiled twice in their interventionist stance to usurp the prerogatives of the elected School Board, Candland, Lawson, and Ruth and Rich Anderson altered strategies. At the state level, Delegate Rich Anderson (R-51) let it be known that he was jettisoning the Republican commitment to local governance and would be introducing legislation regarding the naming of schools. At the county supervisor level Anderson, Candland, and Lawson focused on continuing their personal smears of School Board members, using the house organ of the Mac Haddow-Pete Candland cabal, the Sheriff of Nottingham blog.

They also began an attack on the cost of the renaming by mischaracterizing public estimates drawn up by school staff. Those estimates showed that the cost could be up to $500,000 if the name change also included things like changing the mascot, school colors (reflected on floor tiles), etc. Many such changes would not be necessary and none of them have yet been decided upon by the School Board or School System/Godwin community. Nor is funding for any such costs being sought from the County. Yet that did not prevent Anderson, Candland, and Lawson from irresponsibly throwing around the figure of ½ million dollars in yet another cynical attempt to prevent the Godwin name change.

It’s worth asking what cost would be acceptable to the likes of Anderson, Candland, and Lawson to remove the name of an unrepentant segregationist of the 1950s and 1960s from a now minority-majority middle school. One suspects no amount would be acceptable and reveals the true motives behind the actions of the three.

As the facts slowly emerged about the likely actual costs of the name change, Anderson, Candland, and Lawson appear to have realized that their argument is losing its force. Thus we arrive at their latest strategy iteration as reported in Prince William Today – an attempt to intimidate by a threat to retaliate with substantial cuts to public school funding. Sound familiar? Welcome to Massive Resistance 2016 style.

Here we have the progenitor of their efforts in his own words from 1961, after he had “moderated” his earlier position on Massive Resistance.

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19 comments on “The New Face of Massive Resistance — Anderson, Candland and Lawson Threaten Schools in Defense of Segregationist

  1. -

    I’m glad you pointed out the racial disparity in Prince William in 1970. As an older black woman that was one of the most absurd arguments I heard. How were black people supposed to fight against naming a school for Godwin when 90% of the people were whites and most of them supported segregation? We’re supposed to be blamed for just taking it on now.

  2. -

    Rich Anderson is the most pernicious bigot in the Prince William County delegation. It used to be Bob Marshall given how he treated gays. But Anderson has become the worst because he acts like he’s a friend to minority groups by showing up to give awards or go to banquets, but when he goes to Richmond he does everything he can to restrict their civil and voting rights. He’s the worst kind of politician, the smiling hand-shaking hypocrite.

  3. -

    Great post. [Edited out.] Clear that he [Candland] lives in the ’50s. I really don’t blame Ruth Anderson, she’ s controlled by the real Gainesville supervisor and is too dense to understand the issue. Rich is a two faced bigot ask anyone in the LGBT community. [Edited out.]

  4. -

    I grew up in Virginia and I remember 55 years later that primary campaign from which that video came. WSLS was one of my hometown TV stations. As a white Southerner I had always looked forward to a time when we could feel that we had moved beyond the evils of segregation. But no, these Republicans have simply shifted their approach to dog whistle politics, on immigrants, Obama and now the renaming of this school.

  5. -

    Candland is a racist and a bigot. Straight up. As you put it so well, his “house organ” is the Sheriff of Nottingham hate blog. It’s well known that Pete’s current or former employee and friend, Reece Collins, [edited out].

    On April 29th, one commenter referred to board members from the East as “monkeys.” Did Candland write or call his friend to protest the posting of this disgusting crap? Of course he didn’t. The guy is a pig and the sooner he’s chucked out of office the better.

    [Edited out.]

  6. -

    You’re obviously editing out negative comments when people refer to Ruth Anderson as being stupid or dumb. Maybe you should give us some George Carlin rules about words that can or cannot be used. You can’t expect us to say “not too bright” or something like that all the time. She is so “not too bright” it’s embarrassing to the county.

  7. -

    I prefer to refer to her as “AWOL Anderson” since even when she’s there she’s not really there.

  8. -

    Wordsmith is right. If you think it’s too crass to use “stupid” or “dumb” then which of these accurate more sensitive alternatives would you accept: dazed, dim, deficient, dense, dull, dopey, doltish . . . foolish, simple, senseless, slow, stolid, simpleminded . . . inane, half-witted, mindless, obtuse, unthinking, thick, witless . . . shall I go on?

  9. -

    Okay, we get the point, including from a bunch of comments we chose not to publish. Yes, we agree that Ruth Anderson is “not too bright” and even that she is easily the most “not too bright” person on the Board of County Supervisors. Yes, we agree that she obviously takes her marching orders from Pete Candland and Jeanine Lawson. Yes, we agree that when she gets off the script they have given her that they have to come to the rescue. Yes, we understand that she supports and is supported by Mac Haddow, Reece Collins, and others in the Haddow-Candland cabal that smear legions of good people regularly on their blog and so deserves as virulent criticism in return. Yes, we agree that we nevertheless have trouble posting comments where people refer to her with words like “dumb” and “stupid.” We’ll have to think some more on it, but it is frankly just so obvious, if unsaid, to everyone that watches or interacts with her that it just feels like piling on.

  10. -

    I don’t know if you were serious or not, but this really is the modern, sophisticated face of racism and Massive Resistance. This is what non-KKK racists do. They give lip service to racial equality by showing up at events, but then work to pass legislation restricting rights for minorities (aka Rich Anderson) or make budgetary arguments over things they would brush aside in other circumstances (aka threatening funding retaliation for a name change the School Board was entirely authorized to make). They go after Lillie Jessie all the time on their blog simply because she makes them consider whether or not there is a potential disparate racial impact from their actions. This is exactly what sophisticated bigots do today. They think they insulate themselves because they have some “black friends” or because they say they’re not racists and don’t burn crosses in yards. Thank you for calling them out.

  11. -

    Here’s an example of Jeanine Lawson’s views on the subject, from messages she and Willie Deutsch exchanged while the School Board meeting on the renaming was actually in session. Her comments are about the prominent leader of a local mosque, who she says is supporting the renaming because “it plays into his agenda.” What agenda is that, I wonder? Respectful treatment of minorities?

  12. -

    I text Allyson all the time and I can confirm that she is not a racist.

    We need to move on from Godwin and focus on issues that really matter! The time is now to honor teacher planning time!

  13. -

    Anyone that spends any time following the Anderson’s know they are closet racists.

  14. -

    Wildwestriley,

    The problem is Alyson has no leadership skills and doesn’t respond to emails from parents. She always has a excuse when challenged on her lack of constituent service. Alyson never has to campaign because she is attached to the Rep ticket and doesn’t even bother to campaign even when she had a opponent.
    Currently she has group of parents thoroughly pissed off at her for her lack of action with the bullying problem that has led to the deaths of PWC students some in her district.

    • -

      I disagree. We even text during the meeting and she gets back to me quickly.

      I look forward to working with her in my new role.

  15. -

    @Wildwestriley,
    I agree completely. That’s the problem. The School Board has decided twice to move on and now Anderson, Candland and Lawson want to decide the issue themselves by threatening to retaliate by cutting school funding. Disgraceful.

  16. -

    It’s painful to even talk to Ruth Anderson she’s so clueless. She has a few stock phrases and no idea about the responsibilities of governing. Mostly, people just end up feeling sorry for her.

  17. -

    Raker great job getting actual texts from the inside, I can’t believe Lawson would even leave herself open for that, shows everyone’s true colors and motivation, and it’s all about politics. If I were Lawson and Anderson I would distance myself from Candland immediately, he’s done and doesn’t even know it.

  18. -

    Where is Don Scoggins when we need him?

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