NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) – Robert Gaines, who had a front-row seat to history, says due to religion, social media, and politics, the nation now faces Jim Crow 2.0.

“It’s like massive resistance to me is just another way of racism,” said Gaines, who co-authored a new book about the Norfolk 17.

“They (local and national politicians) know what they are doing; they know exactly what they are doing,” Gaines said. “They are looking for power to be in office and they are looking for wealth but how in the world are you going to stop Critical Race Theory whatever that is.”

On a chilly morning on Feb. 2, 1959 Black children were greeted by a mob when they entered Norview High School. The painful history is chronicled in Heidelberg of the Norfolk 17 by Robert D. Gaines and Andrew Heidelberg.

“Kids were like right in the face. … He (Heidelberg) did not get hit, but he thought he might get killed,” Gaines said. “But later, on the football field, Heidelberg became a hero.

“The first opening kickoff of the game season Andrew got it about to the nine-yard line, went up right 91 yards for a touchdown he was so fast.”

Patricia Turner, now Dr. Patricia Turner was Gaines’ classmate.

“She was by herself and, in the middle (of class) … spit wads were flying across the room and paper airplanes a couple of times,” Gaines said. “The teacher who I really liked was great (but) she never said a word. She had to see it; she had to see it; she never said a word.”

Heidelberg died in June 2015; his words are now available in print. Co-author Robert Gaines will be on hand at the Slover Library in Norfolk, for a meet and greet from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 2.

That is the 64th anniversary of the day 17 children took a stand against racism.