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Barbara Rose Johns: The Story Behind the Statue

February 11, 2021 @ 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

An event sponsored by the Salem History Museum

A statue of Barbara Johns will soon be installed in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, joining George Washington to represent Virginia. Cameron Patterson, the Executive Director of the Robert Russa Moton Museum, will share her story and the role she played in bringing an end to segregated schools. The Zoom link will be on the Salem Museum’s website on the day of the talk.

Before Selma, before Montgomery, young people made history in Farmville, Virginia. On April 23, 1951, Barbara Johns—a Black, 16 year-old high school girl—led her classmates in a strike to protest substandard conditions at their school, Robert Russa Moton High School in Prince Edward County. Two NAACP lawyers, Spottswood Robinson and Oliver Hill, took up the cause for more equitable conditions. Robinson and Hill filed suit—Davis v. Prince Edward—at the federal courthouse in Richmond. In 1954, the Farmville case became one of five that the U.S. Supreme Court reviewed in Brown v Board of Education of Topeka, when it declared segregation unconstitutional.

The Robert Russa Moton Museum is a National Historic Landmark preserving and interpreting the history of Civil Rights in Education. Before joining the Moton in 2017, Patterson worked at Longwood University. He has served as a member of the Virginia African American Advisory Board and the State Board of Directors for the Virginia Center for Inclusive Communities, and as Vice Chairman for the Farmville Area Chamber of Commerce and the Farmville Planning Commission. A Lynchburg native, he holds a Bachelor of Science degree in History, and a Master’s in Counselor Education from Longwood University.


February 11, 2021
7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


Signature Programs
The Moton Museum hosts many events throughout the year.

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