"I would not willingly yield to smallpox," said Virginia's Governor J. Lindsay Almond Jr. at a news conference last week, "but I might get it." To Lindsay Almond, the prospect of white and Negro children attending school together was something like smallpox—and he clearly thought Virginia might get it.
With the state's "massive resistance" laws ready to topple in the courts and with powerful Virginia editors looking for a way out (TIME, Nov. 24), able Lawyer Almond came close to admitting that Virginia might have to come up with a local-option school plan. Only two days before his news conference, Almond and Virginia had got a vaccination against the infection they feared. In Norfolk (pop. 314,600), where 10,000 pupils are still locked out, voters decided 12,333 to 8,781 against petitioning Almond to return their schools to local control, thus let them open integrated. Printed on the ballot was a warning to those who might favor integration over no schools at all: city operation of integrated schools would call for "substantial tuition."
The Norfolk vote made Virginia's Almond feel fine for a moment. "The normal voice," he said, "has spoken." But just in case the vaccination did not take, Almond continued his planning toward a possible second line of defense—which he tagged "conditional resistance."
Last week these signposts also appeared on the rocky integration road: In Atlanta 312 ministers signed a petition and warned against false prophets: "Those who insist that the decision of the Supreme Court on segregation in the public schools has no binding force do great injury to our people." In Little Rock, where public high schools are still padlocked, the U.S. marshal sent home the dozens of deputy marshals who had been brought in ten weeks ago when violence threatened. In Tampa State Representative W. H. Reedy told a lower house caucus that he will soon try to pass a bill setting up a multistate, multimillion-dollar fund to sell Southern segregation ideas in the North the way Hollywood sells a movie star.