One of the leaders of the Massive Resistance movmement in Virginia has passed away. James J. Kilpatrick, the conservative commentator and former editor of The Richmond News Leader, has died after a long illness. Kilpatrick railed against the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision in 1954. He used his column and the newspaper to champion the Massive Resistance policy, which was declared by U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd Sr. to unify white politicians and leaders in Virginia in a campaign of new state laws and policies to prevent public school desegregation. Kilpatrick also served as a commentator on the "Point-Counterpoint" segment of 60 Minutes and famously defended the"Old South's ways when he debated Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the topic, "Are Sit-in Strikes Justifiable?" Although most of the laws created under Massive Resistance were undone by state and federal courts in January 1960, some policies and effects of the campaign continued in Virginia for many more years. In a 2000 interview, Kilpatrick admitted that he was “troubled” by his editorial stance during that time. Kilpatrick was 89.
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—Nsenga K. Burton