“There wasn’t any fear. I just thought-this is your moment. Seize it.” -Barbara Rose Johns
And seize the moment she did. In 1951 Barbara Rose Johns, a sixteen-year-old, led over 450 students on a walkout at the Robert Russa Moton High School, located on Griffin Boulevard in Farmville. The students were protesting the inadequate and overcrowded facilities African-Americans faced; however, the story didn’t end there.
Farmville has had a front row seat witnessing some of the greatest events in American history.
Although the people have come and gone and many buildings have changed, one thing remains the same. Important events happened here.
The actions of the brave students and citizens took place throughout the community: in the churches where they worshiped, the businesses they boycotted and the gathering places where they protested. Their action launched a 13-year legal fight that expanded equality for all Americans.
The Civil Rights Walking Tour celebrates this history by telling more of the story beyond Moton, a story that encapsulates not only the school, but also Downtown Farmville and its surrounding streets. Realizing a need to bring this story to the public led to a community-wide forum held in 2016 to galvanize stakeholders, brainstorm ideas and seek input for the Tour. Later that year, utilizing a grant from the Virginia Foundation of the Humanities, the Civil Rights Walking Tour was launched and represents a joint collaboration between Farmville Downtown Partnership, the Moton Museum and Longwood University.
For more information, visit the R.R. Moton Museum (900 Griffin Boulevard), grab a brochure at the Regional Visitor Center (121 East Third Street) or visit CivilRightsTour.MotonMuseum.org on your mobile device to begin your trip through history.