HISTORICAL BACKGROUND 10

(10) Eventually, all state and local efforts to resist integration would collapse. The Prince Edward County public school system reopened in 1964 and the newer Moton High School (1954) was renamed Prince Edward County High School. The older, original building (1939) upon which the initial protests were based then became Farmville Elementary School.

The Robert Russa Moton High School stands as a monument to the students who struck in 1951 and their contribution to the struggle for the desegregation of our nation’s schools. Their strike led to the court case Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County, which, combined with other, formed Brown v. Board of Education and contributed to the subsequent 1954 landmark decision of the United States Supreme Court. That decision struck down the “separate but equal” racial doctrine governing public school policy and constituted an important step down the road toward the integration of American society. It also led to the closing of Prince Edward County’s public schools and Virginia’s efforts at “massive resistance.” Moton High School’s importance lies in the series of events that began there in April 1951 and the dramatic and fundamental change in American society that resulted. The school is an example of the segregation that occurred in this country and the determination of African Americans to secure their rights as stated in the 14th Amendment of the United States Constitution.

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