Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Writing Program


Agnew, Lois P.


African American, rhetoric, Virginia, writing

Subject Categories

Rhetoric and Composition


>"We're Still Here!": The Rhetorical Education of the Prince Edward County Free School Association, 1963-1964, was directed by Lois Agnew. In 1954, the Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors voted to withhold funding to public schools in reaction to the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling. Public schools remained closed for five years in this county. The White community created and sustained a private segregation academy. The Black community worked to provide a variety of programs to keep students engaged. In 1963, the Kennedy Administration took note of the Black community's plight. Black community leaders and members of the Kennedy Administration worked to establish the Free School Association, a one-year temporary solution to the school closure crisis. The Free School made plain its intention to provide students with the skills they believed necessary for becoming active citizens despite the obstructions placed upon them by the White community. Through archival research and interviews, this dissertation examines the Free School's reading, writing, and speaking curriculum. I argue for an understanding of the curriculum as a blend of a traditional skills-based approach to writing coupled with a commitment to honor the communities of the students. The presentation of this history complicates our notions about rhetorical education, citizenship, and race