Looking back: Franklin adopts ‘Freedom of Choice’

Published 10:31 am Friday, May 8, 2015

by Clyde Parker

MAY 8, 1965

A freedom of choice plan for desegregation of City of Franklin Public Schools was adopted at a special meeting of the Franklin City School Board Tuesday night.

“Our City school desegregation plan is in compliance with the Civil Rights Act of 1964,” said Dr. Edward Brickell, Schools Superintendent. “It is our desire and intent to make sure that children under our jurisdiction have a right to attend the school of their choice.”

The plan, first discussed by the School Board in February, calls for desegregation by freedom of choice grade levels 1, 8 and 12 in 1965-66, with all grade levels desegregated by freedom of choice within three years. Grades 2, 3, 9 and 10 will be included in 1966-67. Grades 4, 5, 6, 7 and 11 will be added in 1967-68.

“Faculty and staff assignments for this upcoming school year will be non-discriminatory,” Brickell said Wednesday.

In accordance with the plan, If overcrowding results in a given school, due to choices made, preference will be given to pupils living nearest to the chosen school.

Next September, Franklin expects to enroll 2,387 pupils in its four schools. This total estimate includes approximately 600 children residing in the Franklin District of Southampton County. Those children will attend Franklin schools on a tuition basis.

In Franklin, the breakdown on school-age population for the school year beginning September 1965 is 1,150 white and 1,237 Negro. Schools currently in operation in Franklin are: Hayden High School, Franklin High School, S. P. Morton Elementary School and Franklin Elementary School.


C. Franklin Jester, 35, has been appointed to the position of Executive Director of the newly formed Franklin Redevelopment and Housing Authority. He will report on July 1.

Jester is currently city manager of Norton, Virginia. He also serves as Executive Director of Norton’s Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Prior to taking the Norton positions, in July of 1961, Jester was employed with the City of Fredericksburg as City Engineer. And, before that, he was City Engineer in Lexington, North Carolina.

Jester was reared in Newport News. He is a graduate of VPI with a B. S. Degree in Civil Engineering.

A U. S. Air Force veteran of four years, Jester is married and has one son, age seven.


At its regular meeting on Wednesday, the Board of Directors of Virginia National Bank, a state-wide bank headquartered in Norfolk, elected Senior Vice President Clifford A. Cutchins III of Franklin to the newly established post of Executive Vice President.

In a joint announcement, R. Cosby Moore, chairman of the board, and W. Wright Harrison, president, revealed further that Cutchins’ appointment to Virginia National Bank’s third ranking position on the management team is effective immediately.

Cutchins’ career began in 1947 when he joined Vaughan And Company Bankers in Franklin. That institution of which he was elected president in 1960, was a predecessor of Tidewater Bank and Trust Company which was created in 1962 by a merger of Vaughan and Company Bankers with the Bank of Capron and Meherrin Valley Bank of Boykins. In 1963, Cutchins was instrumental in affiliating Tidewater Bank and Trust Company with Virginia National Bank which resulted in his assuming the position of Senior Vice President of Virginia National Bank.

He received his early education in the Southampton County Public School System. In 1947, he graduated from VPI with a BS degree in business administration.

Cutchins, a native of Southampton County and a resident of Franklin, is married to the former Ann Woods, a native of Lewistown, Pennsylvania. They have three sons.

A World War II veteran, he served as an infantry officer assigned to the U. S. Army’s Forty-First Infantry Division in the Pacific Theater.

Cutchins is a member of Franklin Baptist Church and has served as Chairman of the Church’s Board of Deacons. He currently serves on the Boards of Franklin Equipment Company, Franklin Industrial Corporation, and Southampton Memorial Hospital.

He is a past president of Franklin Rotary Club and United Community Fund. He is a member of Hunterdale Ruritan Club.

Cutchins is a Southampton County farmer. He owns and operates Deerpath Farm. A well-known breeder of Hampshire hogs and Guernsey cattle, he is a member of the Advisory Committee to the Governors Council on the Industry of Agriculture.

Although he plans to move to Norfolk, he will maintain his home in Franklin. He will continue to own and operate his Southampton County farm.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of the Southampton County Historical Society. His email address is magnolia101@charter.net