Hosted by Chairwoman Susan Swecker, First Vice Chair Gaylene Kanoyton & Chair of the DPVA Black Caucus Evelyn Morris-Harris
Barbara Johns’ story reminds us that one voice can start a movement and the importance of organizing our community to produce positive change. Barbara was educated in segregated public schools in the 1940s. She attended Moton High School in Farmville, VA. Her school was so underfunded that there were parts of the building without a full roof, which would allow rain to fall on the students. Her complaints that the all white public schools in town had significantly better facilities and funding were continuously ignored. Finally, one of her teachers advised Barbara that if she wanted real change she should do something about it.
Barbara was fed up with being ignored and the lack of funding for her school and decided to stand up for her and her classmates. She and over 400 of her fellow students left class and marched to the steps of the Prince Edward County courthouse and demanded equal rights for their education. She was again ignored.
With the assistance of the NAACP and local community leaders, Barbara was a significant figure in a lawsuit that would reach the highest court of the land, the U.S. Supreme Court. Eventually, their case would join the historic Brown v. Board of Education suit and became a critical victory in the Civil Rights Movement. Her legacy will forever live on and have a positive impact on people’s lives.
1010 Church Street
Norfolk, VA 23510
Sunday, April 23rd, 2017