Inaugural Barbara Johns Day celebration

Published 10:37 am Tuesday, April 10, 2018

On April 22, the Robert R. Moton Museum will present the inaugural Barbara Johns Day celebration. The celebration will take place at the Firemen’s Sports Arena in Farmville. An afternoon of fun for guests of all ages, including a bouncy house, a free drawing station, sports equipment, lots of free food and a DJ will provide musical entertainment. The Barbara Johns Musical written by a Prince Edward County School teacher will be performed at 2 p.m. and at 3 p.m. by Prince Edward High School students.

Barbara Johns was a civil rights activist who grew up in Prince Edward County, in the 1950s, during which public schools were segregated. Johns attended Robert Russa Moton High School (now known as the Robert Russa Moton Museum), a small school built to accommodate 150 students but which eventually had over 400 students. In 1951, Barbara Johns led her fellow students in protest, walking out of Moton High School as a means to demand the same treatment as white students in the area. Johns and her peers sought legal assistance from the NAACP, with their cases eventually becoming a part of Brown v. Board of Education in 1954. As a result of that court case, and the integration that followed, Prince Edward Country closed its public schools in 1959, remaining closed until 1964.

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