A job well done

Published 2:40 pm Friday, April 27, 2018

Sunday the Prince Edward County High School (PECHS) drama team presented “B. Rose! The Musical” at the inaugural Barbara Rose Johns Day Celebration at the Fireman’s Sports Arena in Farmville. As previously reported in the Herald the event paid tribute to a young woman and a generation whose actions shifted the U.S. education system and led the country toward educational equality.

Part of the celebration included a presentation of the musical which was written by PECHS drama director Debbie Rush. The musical is a 30-minute performance of the 1951 student walkout over the injustice of separate but equal schools, led by then 16-year-old Barbara Rose Johns.

Fifth Congressional District U.S. Rep Tom Garrett spoke before the students took the stage and had this to say, “Everybody in this country is better off because of a 16-year-old girl who had the courage to stand up for what is right.” He went on to say, “this is a story that needs to be told because this is our story.” I couldn’t agree more.

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A statement on the back of the program guide for the event read, “Barbara Johns led the fight for equal access to education and changed a nation, and her story and the activism of Prince Edward County students continues to inspire students today to stand up to injustice and racism where they find it adding their voices to the chorus of history.”

Adding their voices to the chorus of history, the musical starts out by each of the students, of various ethnic backgrounds and gender, taking the stage and one-by-one raising their hand and proudly announcing, “I am Barbara Johns!” It was a powerful and thought provoking beginning and a story that continues to develop and grow.

I look forward to watching our youth continue to shape our future by adding their voices to the chorus of history. Job well done.

Betty J. Ramsey is the publisher of The Farmville Herald. Her email address is betty.ramsey@farmvilleherald.com.