Virginia is writing a new narrative that is bridging history with culture and heritage, and now when you visit the state, you can connect the early history of the United States to the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s. At the beginning of the movement when the struggle to desegregate public schools was heating up across the country, one Virginia town was central to the fight. Discover Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville, where 16-year-old Barbara Johns led a student walkout to protest the school’s subpar conditions, an event that eventually resulted in one of the lawsuits that made up the Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court case. Visit the Virginia Civil Rights Memorial, which commemorates 18 civil rights leaders, including Johns. Learn about one of the most violent episodes of the Civil Rights Movement that took place at the Danville Public Library. Trace the journey to equality here.
The state’s new narrative also prioritizes welcoming all travelers and embracing once quieted voices. Because of Virginia’s role in the history of race in America, no authentic telling of its history is complete without including the undertold stories and experiences of Black people. The Black Heritage Trail was created to help tell those important stories and elevate Black culture and heritage. It stretches across all regions of the state and invites visitors to come explore both the past and present in Virginia.