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‘Perhaps more courageous’

can relate with my friend Joy Cabarrus Speakes, who told me recently, “I don’t think I’ve come down yet” regarding the recent naming of the building which houses the Virginia attorney general’s office after civil rights pioneer Barbara Rose Johns.

I’m relating to Speakes’ quote in the context of the news that U.S. Rep. Tom Garrett, a Republican from Buckingham, has introduced a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives commemorating April 23 as Barbara Johns Day in America.

The bill, introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives last Monday, “requests that the president issue a proclamation calling upon the people of the United States to observe ‘Barbara Johns Day’ with appropriate ceremonies and activities and … encourages the people of the United States to consider the role and impact of Ms. Johns in the Civil Rights Movement and the role students have had in American history.”

Moreover, I’m highly impressed with the way Garrett characterized Johns’ integrity during his interview last week with The Herald.

“When Patrick Henry gave his … ‘Give me liberty or give me death (speech),’ and then from the back of the room, someone shouted ‘treason,’ and that implication was that you should go get a rope, that Henry should be killed for betrayal of the crown.”

Citing Henry’s speech, Garrett said his courage “to potentially lose everything, including your life, that’s pretty impressive coming from a 37-year-old attorney. It’s even more impressive coming from a 16-year-old young woman,” Garrett said.

Garrett said, and I agree, that Johns was “perhaps more courageous” than Henry.

JORDAN MILES is managing editor of The Farmville Herald and Farmville Newsmedia LLC. His email address is Jordan.Miles@FarmvilleHerald.com.