Lesser known is how Byrd’s mass resistance challenged the Brown V. Board of Education decision and how he eventually closed the public schools in Prince Edward, VA when high school students refused to accept a separate and unequal school system. Ralph Baker’s Shock Exchange: How Inner-City Kids From Brooklyn Predicted the Great Recession and the Pain Ahead explains the stock market and U.S. economy through the eyes of the New York Shock Exchange, a financial literacy program Ralph Baker started in 2006 to share his passion for investing and basketball with his 11-year-old son and other boys his age.
The first few chapters describe Mr. Baker’s experience growing up in Prince Edward County, VA which was one of the five lawsuits that made up the Brown v. Board of Education decision; it was also the only case led by high school students. Mr. Baker grew up with stories about the walkout at Robert Russa Moton High School, the public school closings that followed Brown and the five-year fight to get them reopened. Mr. Baker’s parents and other relatives had to attend schools in other counties, in other states or forgo school altogether. Some vowed never to return to the state of Virginia. Shock Exchange takes readers inside the stain of the school closings and that “education speech” Mr. Baker and his high school classmates were browbeat with by their parents.
Shock Exchange should be required reading for Northam, Herring, Fairfax and every student in the state of Virginia. That way they would know the contributions African Americans made to the state and how mimicking blacks should be an honor, not a joke.