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___________________________________________________________The Norfolk 17: A Personal Narrative on Desegregation in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1958-1962
by Andrew I. Heidelberg
This book is about my personal experiences and feelings as part of the “Norfolk 17,” who went through the hardship of the initial school desegregation debacle from 1958 to 1962 in Norfolk, Virginia. It will provide some historical events, but more importantly, a first-hand account of what truly happened. I am a firm believer of the notion that formal history books are written by winners of war (i.e., one-sided, whoever is in control). Just like a well-prepared photo album, formal history books hide the “dirty laundry.” In order to find the truth, one must necessarily dig deep, and sometimes the truth is so deep that it is still buried within people’s feelings. Therefore, bringing it out and presenting it to the world in the written form, as I do with this book, will be a great service for the present and the future and will help preserve the memories of the past no matter how painful they may be.
Some of the stories you will read about may shock you, such as the verbal attacks when confronted by bigots, the extent of racial hatred, and the actual physical attacks exhibited like the incident with Lavera Forbes. I hope all who read the book will compare it to reports and writings offered by others on the same subject.
About the Author
Andrew I. Heidelberg is a native of Norfolk, Virginia, who graduated from Norfolk State University with a bachelor of science degree in interdisciplinary studies. His professional career includes seventeen years in the banking industry, where he served as vice president and corporate manager for several major banks in America and England. Most recently, he served as assistant treasurer and chief deputy treasurer for the city of Hampton.
For more than a decade, he has spent considerable time and energy volunteering on community-related projects and other outreach initiatives. He is currently the vice chairperson of Beacon At The Crossroads, a very active faith-based organization in Hampton, Virginia. In 2005, he was selected by Governor Mark Warner to serve a two-year term as a member of the Brown v. Board of Education Scholarship Awards Committee. Also, he is a deacon at Temple Beth El in Suffolk, Virginia. He is frequently featured on television and radio talk shows and various forums promoting black awareness and experiences in education and sports desegregation in Virginia and the South. He and his loving wife, Luressa, reside in Hampton, Virginia.
(2006, paperback, 84 pages)