All Falling Faiths: Reflections on the Promise and Failure of the 1960s

Time Period
1925 to Today
Media Type
Black History
Civil Rights
Politics & Government
J. Harvie Wilkinson III

On March 29, Judge J. Harvie Wilkinson III delivered a Banner Lecture entitled “All Falling Faiths: Reflections on the Promise and Failure of the 1960s.”

All Falling Faiths is a personal memoir of growing up and coming of age in the 1950s and 60s. Much of it describes my boyhood and adolescence in Richmond during those two decades and what life was like, both good and bad, back then. Only a personal journey can help us recognize both the mistakes and accomplishments of our youth and the need for future generations to find the common ground that too often eluded us back then. Each chapter in my book discusses a different fallen faith. My own view is that the 1960s inflicted enormous damage on America –- damage that helps to explain the terribly torn and fractured country that we have today. Those who take a positive view of the 1960s, however, have strong points to make as well; that decade helped make us a country for all Americans, not just some. My hope in this book is that those who rend a garment may yet help to mend it. By understanding all we lost in the 1960s, we may yet find a brighter way.

J. Harvie Wilkinson III is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. President Reagan appointed him to that court in August of 1984, and he was the Fourth Circuit’s chief judge from 1996–2003. He is the author of several books, including Harry Byrd and the Changing Face of Virginia Politics 1945–1966One Nation Indivisible: How Ethnic Separatism Threatens AmericaCosmic Constitutional Theory: Why Americans Are Losing Their Inalienable Right to Self-Governance; and, most recently, All Falling Faiths: Reflections on the Promise and Failure of the 1960s. Judge Wilkinson lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. He and his wife Lossie have two children, Nelson and Porter.

The content and opinions expressed in these presentations are solely those of the speaker and not necessarily of the Virginia Museum of History & Culture.

Want to listen to an audio-only version of this lecture? Listen now on Soundcloud.