On Monday four Lucy Addison Middle School children assisted Governor Tim Kaine in unveiling plans to construct a new monument to 16-year old Barbara Johns who in 1951 "launched a two-week strike at her all-black Robert R. Moton High School in Farmville to protest the separate and unequal conditions in her school." The protest eventually resulted in a court case that became part of Brown v. Board of Education which was argued by Oliver Hill and Spotswood Robinson. Their likenesses will also be reflected on the memorial. The story of the Moton High protest can be found here.
I recently met Oliver Hill, who is now 100-years old, at the Annual Meeting of the Virginia Social Science Association. I served on the Board of Directors and this year we decided to award Mr. Hill with a special service award. It was an honor to meet the man and I had a chance to thank him for his important contributions to civil rights in Virginia and throughout the country. You can browse the website for the memorial for additional information and even make a contribution. This is a worthy cause and one that will enrich the landscape of Capitol Square in Richmond.
Much can be inferred about a community based on the events and individuals that it chooses to honor. Here is a project that honors the actions of Americans who worked to bring this country closer to its founding ideals and beyond a perspective weighed down by a deep-seated racism. I can’t wait to see it.