Ralph Bunche High School

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The modest style and size of Ralph Bunche High School belie its importance to the civil rights struggle in Virginia and the U.S. Its construction in 1949 was the direct result of the 1947 Federal District court case, Margaret Smith, et al v. School Board of King George County, Virginia, et al, one of a group of test cases in legal battles between African American communities and local governments over the issue of “equalization” between separate white and African American school systems. King George, Gloucester, and Surry counties were the targets of cases filed by the Richmond African American law firm of Hill, Martin and Robinson, in collaboration with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), cases that eventually led to the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision, in Brown v. The Board of Education, mandating school desegregation nationwide. Named for Dr. Ralph Bunche, an international African American leader who served as the United Nations mediator for Palestine during the 1940s, the school operated from 1949 until closing in 1968, when the King George County’s school system was finally fully integrated.

Last Updated: January 30, 2024

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VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

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Powhatan Rural Historic District

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White Plains

King George (County)



King George (County)