On April 14th, Kristin Green, a celebrated author, came to Cosby as just one of the many speakers the politics club has hosted for Cosby juniors and seniors to learn from. Kristin Green wrote Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County. Her book details the five year closing of Prince Edward County Public Schools in response to government required integration in the 1960s. Green came to Cosby to discuss the effects that the school closings had on black residents of the county and the damage done to Prince Edward County as a result of the unapologetic racism of the time.
Green was born in Prince Edward county, and attended an all white private school that was opened with the goal of providing education to white students only. The school did not allow black children to attend until 1986, when Green was a member of the eighth grade class. She never questioned her school as a child, but as she grew older she began to research the county’s racist history, and the true origin of her all white private school.
Green’s presentation outlined the massive amounts of research she did in order to write her book, including interviews and trips back to her home town. She also described the history of Prince Edward County and explained why she was so disturbed by her hometown’s past. She interviewed her parents, members of both the white and black communities, and those who were responsible for closing the schools. The school board members who chose to shut down public education instead of desegregating their classrooms felt little remorse about their actions and felt that they were acting out of the best interest for the children of Prince Edward. Green described how angry this made her and how she wrote her book in order to shed light on the power of racism that still exists in Virginia. Green discovered that her own grandfather was largely responsible for the closing of the schools and the opening of the all white private academy. She regrets never being able to ask him why.
Green has since moved to Richmond, and her two young children attend Richmond City Public Schools. She is married to a multiracial man, and still faces discrimination for their relationship. Something Must Be Done About Prince Edward County goes into depth about the struggles that Prince Edward residents still face and those whose lives have been forever altered by the closing of the schools.
Green answered questions from Cosby students at the end of her presentation, and stayed after to speak to the government teachers who arranged her visit. She expressed how much she enjoyed coming to Cosby, and speaking with students. She hopes that her book will have a lasting impact on all who read it, especially those with roots in Virginia, like her.