It seemed like reaching for the moon. -Barbara Rose Johns
Standing on Main Street in Downtown Farmville on a Monday morning and looking South toward the Robert Russa Moton Museum, it’s difficult to imagine the history-making scene that occurred in that very location seventy years ago. Over 450 students staged a walkout from what was then R.R. Moton High School to protest the inadequate and overcrowded facilities the African-American students faced. The walkout, which was led by a student, 16 year-old Barbara Johns, launched a 13-year legal fight that expanded equality for all Americans. In reference to leading the strike, Johns stated, “It seemed like reaching for the moon.”
You can walk in the footsteps of Johns and the other teenagers who participated in the walkout, and also visit other key historical stops, on the Farmville Civil Rights Walking Tour. The tour is a joint collaboration between the Robert Russa Moton Museum and the Farmville Downtown Partnership. Follow along with a brochure that has information about each stop. If you are more tech savvy, follow the tour online: http:// CivilRightsTour.MotonMuseum.org. The Tour has seventeen stops that are part of the two-mile route. Stops on the Tour are signified by the Tour’s stenciled logo and include stops on Main Street, High Street, Griffin Boulevard, and North Street.
Stops along the Tour include Moton High School, which is now a National Historic Landmark and museum. Other stops include the locations of sit-ins and protests, including churches and locations of former stores. On High Street, visit a monument that was dedicated in 2018 to honor persons in the community who aspired to expand freedom and civil rights throughout American history.
Our history is a big part of who we are today. In addition to being rich in history, Farmville’s Main Street is part of its vibrant downtown area. In between stops on the Tour, visit local businesses around town. Step into furniture and antique shops, unique gift and decor shops, art galleries, diverse restaurants, or hop on the High Bridge Trail, which has an entrance off Main Street.
Who wants to solely read about something when you can literally walk in the footsteps of history makers? We invite you to WanderLove your way to Farmville. Throw on your walking shoes and mask! It’s time to explore beyond your own backyard. We can’t wait to see you!