Bipartisan bill passes

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, May 4, 2022

On Tuesday, April 26, the U.S. House of Representatives passed S. 270, the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Expansion Act by a unanimous bipartisan voice vote.

The legislation will expand the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Kansas and designate National Park Service (NPS) Affiliated Areas in Delaware, South Carolina, Kansas, Virginia and the District of Columbia. Specifically, it will recognize the Moton Museum, formerly the Robert Russa Moton High School, in Farmville, where Barbara Johns led a protest against school segregation and demanded better conditions for Black students. This designation would help protect the site.

The bill, which unanimously passed the Senate earlier this month, now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

U.S. Senators Mark R. Warner and Tim Kaine applauded House passage of their bipartisan legislation to commemorate historic sites that catalyzed litigation leading to the landmark 1954 Supreme Court decision, Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka.

The 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka transformed the United States, overruling Plessy v. Ferguson and striking down school segregation as unconstitutional. The Brown decision was a major catalyst of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

“Seventy-one years after Barbara Johns led a protest against school segregation at Moton High School in Farmville, we’re thrilled that our legislation to commemorate the Moton Museum and other historic sites associated with Brown v. Board of Education is headed to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law,” said Senators Warner and Kaine. “We’re proud to help preserve this history and recognize stories of courageous Americans who fought for justice and equality.”

The creation of NPS Affiliated Areas in Delaware, Virginia, and the District of Columbia for sites associated with the Brown v. Board of Education case and an expansion of the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site to include the related sites in South Carolina provides an opportunity for these sites to tell their own under-recognized histories of the Brown v. Board of Education case.

In collaboration with local partners and other stakeholders, the National Trust will continue its work to bring recognition to communities that fought for school integration and make connections between communities engaged in the fight for educational equity, past and present.

The legislation was crafted in partnership with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In the Senate, the bill was led by U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-DE) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and supported by U.S. Senators Tim Scott (R-SC), Tom Carper (D-DE), Jerry Moran (R-KS), and Roger Marshall (R-KS).

Senators Warner and Kaine were also proud to secure $500,000 in dedicated funding for critical facility upgrades at the Moton Museum in Farmville through the Fiscal Year 2022 budget, and supported efforts to honor Barbara Johns as one of Virginia’s two statues in the United States Capitol.

Congressman Bob Good was the sole House Republican to co-sponsor the House version of this legislation, H.R. 920.

Brown v. Board of Education desegregated public schools for all American children and further advanced the ideal that all men are created equal and endowed by their Creator with unalienable rights. This landmark decision would not have been possible without the heroism of Barbara Johns and the students who walked out of the Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville, Virginia, on April 23, 1951. I was honored to stand as a co-sponsor of the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site Expansion Act, which will ensure that the Robert Russa Moton Museum in Farmville is officially recognized as an affiliate site of the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site. I thank the House of Representatives for passing this historic legislation and Representative Clyburn (D-SC) for his work on expanding the Brown v. Board National Historic Site to include Farmville, Virginia.” said Representative Good.