Reflecting Brown

May 11, 2009

Robert Russa Moton Museum will host Reflecting Brown, a series of lectures and book- signings in the month of May honoring the landmark Brown decisions that affirmed racial equality and justice in education.

Dr. James R. Sweeney will kick-off the series on Saturday, May 16 at 1:00 pm with his edited book titled, Race, Reason, and Massive Resistance: The Diary of David J. Mays.  A prominent attorney and Pulitzer Prizewinning biographer from Richmond, Virginia, David J. Mays kept a dairy regarding Virginia’s support of massive resistance following the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education ruling.  This volume comprises diary excerpts from the years 1954 to 1959.

Dr. James R. Sweeney is an associate professor of history at Old Dominion University.   His book was published by The University of Georgia Press.

The month of May is significant in the history of civil rights in education and Brown with the following dates holding prominence:

On May 23, 1951 with the filing of Davis vs. School Board (the only student-initiated case in the Brown trials), Prince Edward County citizens called for an end to racial segregation in public education.

Three years later, May 17, 1954, the United States Supreme Court agreed with Davis v. School Board and established that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal.” in Brown v. Board of Education.

In the May 31, 1955 case, Brown II called for desegregation with “all deliberate speed.”

The May 25, 1964 case, Griffin v. School Board, established that “The time for mere ‘deliberate speed’ has run out.”

The mission of the Moton Museum is to preserve and positively interpret the history of Civil Rights in Education, specifically as it relates to Prince Edward County and the role its citizens played in America’s struggle to move from a segregated to an integrated society.

Moton was the site of the April 23, 1951 student walkout in protest of inferior educational facilities led by 16-year-old sophomore Barbara Johns.  The Moton strike launched Prince Edward County’s 13-year struggle for Civil Rights in Education and resulted in the filing of Davis v. Prince Edward, which called for an end to racial segregation in public education.  Davis was decided, along with four other cases, in the Supreme Court decisions Brown v. Board (1954) and Brown II (1955).

The Moton Museum is located in the former R. R. Moton High School at 900 Griffin Boulevard, Farmville, Virginia.  The lecture and book signing is free of charge and open to the public.  For additional information, please telephone 434–315-8775.

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