Where Students Led the Charge for Change

While the fight for desegregation was heating up in the early 1950s, the country saw plenty of protests and counter protests, as well as walkouts, sit-ins and boycotts. One such walkout in Farmville, Virginia, was especially powerful because it was led by two young students: 16-year-olds Barbara Johns and John Arthur Stokes. They rallied a group of students and organized a walkout of all-black Robert Russa Moton High School in protest of the school’s poor conditions. The NAACP then teamed up with the students and worked to integrate the schools of Prince Edward County. The lawsuit filed against the School Board of Prince Edward County was later incorporated into Brown v. Board of Education, making Farmville a key destination to learn about school integration and the overturning of Plessy v. Ferguson.

Farmville

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