Page 1


About this Publication For the past three semesters, Graphic Design students enrolled in my Color and Design II courses have collaborated with staff in the Queens College Archives to create projects that incorporate historical documents and topics. During the Spring 2013 semester, students worked in teams to create this publication, which commemorates the 50th Anniversary of the Virginia-Jamaica Student Help Project’s involvement in Prince Edward County, Virginia. Throughout history, designers and artists have created simple images to spark thorough investigation by their audiences. Whether the desired outcome is to sell more soap or to upend the status quo, our product tends to be the start of the discussion, not the entire story. The basic premise of this publication is that the legacy of the Virginia-Jamaica Student Help Project’s involvement in Prince Edward County merits additional discussion. The goal I set for my students was to make an informed, engaging opening line. To accomplish this objective, the class was divided into teams, which were then assigned research questions related to the legacy of the Virginia-Jamaica Student Help Project. Together, the answers are intended to provide a historical and contextual summary for the events of the summer of 1963. To answer their questions, students met with staff at the archives for a historical overview and to peruse applicable collections. In addition to photos and documents related to the Student Help Project, the class also viewed examples of political posters. Each team selected a poster to use as stylistic inspiration. The teams were then presented with the challenge of making a series of images that not only answered their questions, but were also stylistically unified. To acheive this, students were introduced to color-matching systems and style guides that graphic design firms utilize to ensure unity in branding campaigns. As a final challenge, each team had to come up with five different palette variations for their series. During the final critique, students chose a single palette that they felt best represented the themes of their series. These are the versions included in this publication. It is also worth noting that due to the focus of the course, and the timeframe students had to work with, this publication is intended primarily as a visual tribute and response to the history of the Virginia-Jamaica Student Help Project- not as a scholarly document. The written content the students produced was, first and foremost, an aid for generating imagery. Finally, it should be noted that there is scant historical analysis of the Virginia-Jamaica Project. As a result, the class had to rely on documents in the archives to piece together the incomplete narrative that you are about to read. We hope that you’ll let us know what we got right, what we got wrong, and what we missed! -Ryan Hartley Smith


Inspiration Poster Artist unknown Mark Levy Collection


What is Brown vs. Board of Education?

Team 1 Soohyun Ha Amber Overton Mclane Teitel Jiemin Yang Ying Ying


14th Amendment In the Brown vs. Board of Education case, Oliver Brown sued the Topeka, Kansas school system based on the 14th Amendment. In Section 1 of this amendment, it claims: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.� It means everyone shall be provided equal protection. Oliver Brown thought his daughter should have the same envoriment, same quality and same qualification of edu-


Reaction to Plessy v. Ferguson (1896) Although the Supreme Court Case Plessy vs. Ferguson ruled “separate but equal” facilities to be constitutional, most states ignored the ruling. The “separate but equal” doctrine applied to such things as railroad cars, voting rights, and even drinking fountains. Although there were those who said the ruling would not apply to the area of education, it in fact did. African American and white students still went to segregated schools, and these schools were anything but ‘equal’.” This case would pave way for future Supreme Court cases such as Brown v. Board of Education (1954), which would attempt to overturn the “separate but equal” doctrine.


Although the Plessey vs. Ferguson case had ruled “separate but equal,” some places had not made changes toward this new way of living. In Topeka, Kansas, in 1951 many African American children would have to go out of their way attending “colored” schools in neighboring towns just to attend school. Often those schools would use old curriculum, used textbooks, and lacked the essential supplies and learning tools that elementary school students needed to be successful.


Significance of Brown vs Board of Education The Supreme Court decision in the Brown vs. Board of Education case overturned the Plessey v. Ferguson decision of 1896, which had allowed state-sponsored segregation. It outlawed racial segregation in schools and other public facilities. The decision catalyzed educational and social reform throughout the United States. It allowed African American children to gain better educational access, which would produce future leaders to fight for equal rights of the people. It was a significant step in realizing Mr. Jefferson’s notion that “all men are created equal,” and it furthered the progression of democracy in the United States. It was considered to be one of the major victories of the African American Civil Rights Movement.


Inspiration Poster

Artist unknown

Mark Levy Collection


How were youth in Prince Edward County, VA before Brown vs. Board of Education? Team 2 Hyeri An Szewai Kwok Daren Ramswamy Sandy Steinberg


On April 23, 1951, African American students at Robert Russa Moton High School, in the town of Farmville, in Prince Edward County, walked out to protest overcrowded and poor conditions at the segregated site. Four years earlier the State Board of Education had ruled the school inadequate. Attorneys Spottswood Robinson and Oliver Hill of Richmond met with the student leaders and agreed to represent them in court if they agreed to challenge Virginia’s public school segregation law. The strike, led by student Barbara Johns, is considered by many historians to be one the first nationally visible signal efforts in the school desegregation movement and resulted in a court case that was later bundled with other, similar cases into Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas (1954).


Inspiration Poster

Artist unknown

Mark Levy Collection


How did the Prince Edward School System react to Brown vs Board of Education? Team 3 Esther Cho Sabina Barbenel Karla Espinoza Luis Olivio


As a result of the Brown vs. Board of Education, the board of supervisors for Prince Edward county refused all funding for all schools. This led all the public schools to close. Instead of integrating the schools, they were shut down completely. The County created private schools for the white students “as a way to protest school integration.” Many black students didn’t get any schooling while others received education from the church, in other nearby counties or in other states.


This affected local African American students because they had to figure out another way to get an education. They either had to go to schools outside of the county, be educated by neighbors or family members, or not attend school at all. As a result, thousand of African American children went without access to public education for five years.


The schools were closed for five years and Prince Edward county was “the only school district in the county to resort to such extreme measures�.


Inspiration Poster

Emory Douglas

Mark Levy Collection


What QC organizations were involved?

Team 4 Kriss Dass Serom Lee Amanda Marrero Resham Sharma Christopher Waugh


During its first year, Queens College’s division of the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) created the Virginia-Jamaica Student Help Project. It quickly became a collaboration between Education and other majors and professors in the Education Department.


Queens College CORE was originally part of the National Associaton for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Its two main campaigns were tutoring African American students in South Jamaica, Queens, and Prince Edward County, Virginia.


When Prince Edward County decided to shut down public schooling rather than desegregate students; Queens College students and QC CORE members made a trip there in 1963 to tutor students who had been without public schooling.


Inspiration Poster

Artist unknown

Mark Levy Collection


Who were the summer, 1963 QC student volunteers? *The class created images that identify the students who donated material to the archives. Additionally, we learned that Professor Dr. Rachel Weddington accompanied QC students on the Virginia Project. In total, there were 16 QC students who went to Virginia. Please let us know who else participated! Following the initial publication of this document, several almuni provided us with the names of everyone who participated. Their names are included on the following page. -Ryan Hartley Smith

Team 5 Jordana Bienfeld Alli Fried Lisa Klein Nate Neujahar Yani Qian


QC PARTICIPANTS ROSALIND ANDREWS MIKE BARBERA MARK BLUMBERG DONNA BRASS INA GOLD JUNE TAUBER GOLDEN SHEILA HARTMAN LENNY HAUSMAN CAROLYN HUBBARD RHODA MAIDENICK PHYLLIS PADOW STAN SHAW JEAN STEIN MARGE SULKES MIKE WENGER DEBORAH YAFFE

FACULTY ADVISORS DR. SIDNEY SIMON DR. RACHEL WEDDINGTON


ROSALIND ANDREWS

DEBBY YAFFE


Inspiration Poster

Milton Glaser Mark Levy Collection


What principles did teachers and volunteers fight for? Team 6 Cameron Blackwood Mariana Neva Hoi Ying Ng Margot Tennenbaum


The students and volunteers who participated in the 1963 Prince Edward County Summer Program were hopeful that eventually every school throughout America would be integrated. They were concerned about the stress that segregation produces in young African American students, which has been proven to undermine cognitive development. They wanted to implement the otherwise ignored Civil Rights Act passed in 1875, which held the “equality of all men before the law�.


It wasn’t until The Civil Rights Act of 1964, which outlawed major forms of discrimination, that equal protection was guaranteed to all citizens. Aside from the discrimination against young African Americans, members of Virginia’s Indian tribes were also largely excluded from Virginia’s public education. The student volunteers from Queens College wanted to contribute to a cause they had read about and studied for so long, and felt that by becoming educators or working in other policy areas, they could change lives forever.


Inspiration Poster

Artist unknown

Mark Levy Collection


What type of experiences did teachers and volunteers have in Virginia? Team 7 Chiehyi Li Olena Protsenko Manuel Rodriguez Eri Yamamoto


The overall experience in Virginia was rewarding and amazing for the volunteers despite not being able to teach or do as much as they had in mind. Upon arrival they realized that within such a short period of time they could not make up for the four lost years of education. In order to overcome this obstacle, the Student Help Project and the United Federation of Teachers collaborated together to not only complement each other’s skills and abilities, but also to provide the most rich and meaningful educational experience possible for the more than five hundred students they worked with.


The volunteers separated the students into six different classes ranging from kindergarten to junior high. They began to instill the fundamental concepts of various subjects and instill basic skills. These target concepts and skills became known as “the three R’s.” The three R’s stand for reading, writing, and arithmetic. Since they hadn’t been in a school-like setting for years, the students were enthusiastic pupils.


The classes lasted from 9 am to 1 pm and due to the lack of space, some classes would meet outside at the wooden tables. One challenge QC volunteers faced was effectily collaborating with U.F.T. volunteers, whose careers and families limited their participation in Virgina to one or two weeks at a time. That made for a lack of continuity both with the students and QC volunteers. They also came upon restrictions once entering Virginia, due to pervasive segregation codes. In order to stay safe, they avoided certain areas or places and decided to remain inside at night.


Once it became time for the kids “graduation” day, both students and teachers went to the park to swim, play, dance, and talk. On the day of commencement, the students were given certificates and sang freedom songs. Despite their short amount of time in Virginia, they left a huge impact on the kids and received many letters from their students. Years later, Stan Shaw stated about the experience “It was a little overwhelming. I was shocked that as we talked to people, we were being called heroes and told we did tremendous things.” Volunteers also felt that they had learned a great deal by the end of the summer.


Inspiration Poster

Artist unknown

Mark Levy Collection


How and when were Prince Edward Public Schools finally integrated? Team 8 Elizabeth Fun Rebecca Kurlander Jangmu Lama Astha Timilsina Eric Wang


In 1963, federal courts ordered Prince Edward County public schools to reopen, however, the county school board appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.


Ruling on Griffin v. County School Board of Prince Edward County (1964), the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision declared that Prince Edward County had violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. County and state supervisors acquiesced rather than risk prosecution or imprisonment, thus ending the era of Massive Resistance in Virginia.


Student Help Project Commemoration  

Queens College undergraduate design students create a tribute to alumni who fought for educational...