J. Lindsay Almond Jr., 87; Governor of Virginia in 1950s
J. Lindsay Almond Jr., governor of Virginia during the state’s stormy school integration battles of the late 1950s, died Monday night. He was 87.
Almond died at a Richmond hospital, where he had been treated for pneumonia.
Almond was one of a string of Democratic governors to emerge from the powerful political organization led by the late U.S. Sen. Harry Byrd Sr. Almond was elected in 1957 as the champion of massive resistance to integration, but he later abandoned that policy.
As governor, he closed schools in three areas rather than allow them to be integrated. In January, 1959, the Virginia Supreme Court and a federal appeals panel declared unconstitutional the state’s law that closed the schools.
Almond capitulated, and at his urging the Virginia General Assembly passed a freedom-of-choice school plan and accepted integration.
In 1962--after President John F. Kennedy nominated Almond to the U.S. Court of Customs and Patent Appeals--Byrd delayed his confirmation for months.