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Barbara Johns Civil Rights Leader
Barbara Johns Civil Rights Leader
Published: 2014/03/26
Channel: Katie Gould
Barbara Rose Johns
Barbara Rose Johns
Published: 2009/10/29
Channel: Suzanne Scotten
Rosa Parks sat down and Barbara Johns stood up
Rosa Parks sat down and Barbara Johns stood up
Published: 2011/12/09
Channel: greenshirt
Dedication of the Barbara Johns Building in Richmond, Virginia
Dedication of the Barbara Johns Building in Richmond, Virginia
Published: 2017/02/23
Channel: Community Idea Stations
Barbara Rose - " The Voice Of Love "
Barbara Rose - " The Voice Of Love "
Published: 2010/01/09
Channel: Barbara Rose
BRNKANA  HRABICE
BRNKANA HRABICE
Published: 2013/08/05
Channel: DJ Barbara Rose
BRNKANA HRABICE
BRNKANA HRABICE
Published: 2013/08/05
Channel: DJ Barbara Rose
Justin Fairfax tells the story of Barbara Johns
Justin Fairfax tells the story of Barbara Johns
Published: 2017/06/27
Channel: Turnout Blue
Barbara Rose
Barbara Rose
Published: 2013/06/14
Channel: Barbara Rose
As Time Goes By
As Time Goes By
Published: 2012/08/05
Channel: Barbara Rose
MOV 0017
MOV 0017
Published: 2013/08/05
Channel: DJ Barbara Rose
Barby  -   Dotykat se snu
Barby - Dotykat se snu
Published: 2015/07/28
Channel: DJ Barbara Rose
Your song - Elton John COVER by Barbara Neumann
Your song - Elton John COVER by Barbara Neumann
Published: 2015/10/22
Channel: Barbara Neumann
Filming Of Barbara Johns Speech
Filming Of Barbara Johns Speech
Published: 2010/03/24
Channel: studioammons
Barbara R. Johns - 3 minute story
Barbara R. Johns - 3 minute story
Published: 2017/10/19
Channel: ndugutime2
Barbara R Johns hurricane for Stuart HS rename
Barbara R Johns hurricane for Stuart HS rename
Published: 2017/10/22
Channel: ndugutime2
Tribute to Barbara LaMarr
Tribute to Barbara LaMarr
Published: 2014/09/07
Channel: Shabannie
Copy of Barbara Johns spash final
Copy of Barbara Johns spash final
Published: 2018/01/16
Channel: ndugutime2
Barbara Johns talks to her family 1
Barbara Johns talks to her family 1
Published: 2012/11/13
Channel: Mike Johns
BARBY- ROCK
BARBY- ROCK
Published: 2012/05/23
Channel: DJ Barbara Rose
Joy Cabarrus Speakes - Farmville, VA.
Joy Cabarrus Speakes - Farmville, VA.
Published: 2015/04/15
Channel: Virginia Voices
Barbara Johns Dezaray, Katelyn, and Susan Mrs  Arnold
Barbara Johns Dezaray, Katelyn, and Susan Mrs Arnold's Class
Published: 2017/05/12
Channel: Rebecca Arnold
The Rotunda Show Exclusive - Longwood Honors Dr. King
The Rotunda Show Exclusive - Longwood Honors Dr. King
Published: 2010/01/29
Channel: Rotunda Studios
RAK from Barbara Johns. Wild Orchid Crafts - FLOWERS
RAK from Barbara Johns. Wild Orchid Crafts - FLOWERS
Published: 2013/04/12
Channel: scrapincrazed
Gloria Swanson, Barbara Walters, 1981 Interview
Gloria Swanson, Barbara Walters, 1981 Interview
Published: 2015/11/29
Channel: Alan Eichler
John
John's speech
Published: 2012/08/16
Channel: Catherine Threlkeld
Goodbye Norma Jeane: Elton John sings to Marilyn Monroe
Goodbye Norma Jeane: Elton John sings to Marilyn Monroe
Published: 2007/03/21
Channel: Cesar Del Rey
Elton John   Candle in the Wind Goodbye England
Elton John Candle in the Wind Goodbye England's Rose Live at Princess Diana's Funeral 1997
Published: 2017/01/06
Channel: PastorAppreciation1
How Rose Kennedy Reacted to JFK Assassination
How Rose Kennedy Reacted to JFK Assassination
Published: 2013/10/21
Channel: MCamericanpresident
Final Sermon of Vernon Johns
Final Sermon of Vernon Johns
Published: 2009/09/15
Channel: Charles Pope
Davis v. Prince Edward County, Farmville, Virginia
Davis v. Prince Edward County, Farmville, Virginia
Published: 2008/02/09
Channel: ResearchChannel
"We had to destroy it in order to save it." Painting in New York in the 1970s
"We had to destroy it in order to save it." Painting in New York in the 1970s
Published: 2012/10/02
Channel: Christie's
Vernon Johns Meets Farrakhan
Vernon Johns Meets Farrakhan
Published: 2013/10/16
Channel: Charles Seay
Elton John - Candle In The Wind
Elton John - Candle In The Wind
Published: 2010/09/01
Channel: EltonJohnVEVO
ELTON John came up with Princess Diana’s tribute song within hours
ELTON John came up with Princess Diana’s tribute song within hours
Published: 2017/08/30
Channel: Breaking News
MERYL STREEP BETTE MIDLER CHER OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN GOLDIE HAWN
MERYL STREEP BETTE MIDLER CHER OLIVIA NEWTON JOHN GOLDIE HAWN 'WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD'
Published: 2015/08/05
Channel: Ivan F
Elton John and David Furnish Loves Their Baby
Elton John and David Furnish Loves Their Baby
Published: 2011/04/23
Channel: Myfavoritetvmovies
Little Willie John - I
Little Willie John - I'm Shakin'
Published: 2008/04/30
Channel: RoverTCB
Did you know ...? # PART 2079
Did you know ...? # PART 2079
Published: 2017/05/22
Channel: Did you know...
Jacqueline Kennedy Tapes, Recorded After JFK Assassination, Reveal Intimate Secrets
Jacqueline Kennedy Tapes, Recorded After JFK Assassination, Reveal Intimate Secrets
Published: 2011/09/12
Channel: ABC News
The Resurrection Argument That Changed a Generation of Scholars - Gary Habermas at UCSB
The Resurrection Argument That Changed a Generation of Scholars - Gary Habermas at UCSB
Published: 2012/11/09
Channel: The Veritas Forum
Barbara shares thoughts from the palliative care unit
Barbara shares thoughts from the palliative care unit
Published: 2016/09/19
Channel: Sunnybrook Hospital
6 Teenagers Who Made History
6 Teenagers Who Made History
Published: 2016/09/28
Channel: VeniVidiVici!
Sir Elton John  -   A Masterly Performance on ITAS 2005 - Truly a Genius at work
Sir Elton John - A Masterly Performance on ITAS 2005 - Truly a Genius at work
Published: 2009/03/31
Channel: denicares2
Shark Tanks "Daymond John" explains why designers won
Shark Tanks "Daymond John" explains why designers won't give Kanye West a chance!
Published: 2013/12/11
Channel: HOT 97
Black History Vernon Johns
Black History Vernon Johns
Published: 2011/02/08
Channel: New Life Bible Church
Fanfare St.Barbara G.A.  Somers-zomerconcert-The Rose on Bolero 24 juni 2012
Fanfare St.Barbara G.A. Somers-zomerconcert-The Rose on Bolero 24 juni 2012
Published: 2012/06/24
Channel: BarbaraGA
Haydn’s “Little Organ Mass”: St John’s  Cambridge 1978 (George Guest)
Haydn’s “Little Organ Mass”: St John’s Cambridge 1978 (George Guest)
Published: 2016/04/06
Channel: Archive of Recorded Church Music
Lacy Ward, Jr discusses Robert Russa Moton Museum & civil rights education history
Lacy Ward, Jr discusses Robert Russa Moton Museum & civil rights education history
Published: 2010/05/01
Channel: motonmuseum
Elton John
Elton John's proposal to David Furnish 11 years ago revealed
Published: 2016/05/20
Channel: Security Camera
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

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Barbara Rose Johns Powell
Born (1935-03-06)March 6, 1935
New York City, New York
Died September 25, 1991(1991-09-25) (aged 56)
Philadelphia, PA
Occupation Civil rights activist, librarian
Known for Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County
R.R. Moton High School protest

Barbara Rose Johns Powell (March 6, 1935 – September 25, 1991) was a young, American civil rights leader-pioneer and the niece of one of the "fathers of the Civil Rights Movement," Vernon Johns.[1] On April 23, 1951, at the age of 16, Powell led a student strike for equal education at R.R. Moton High School in Farmville, Prince Edward County, Virginia. After securing NAACP legal support, the Moton students filed Davis v. Prince Edward County, the largest and only student initiated case consolidated into Brown v. Board of Education, the landmark 1954 U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring "separate but equal" public schools unconstitutional.

Early life[edit]

Barbara Rose Johns Powell was born in New York City, New York in 1935. Her family had roots in Prince Edward County, Virginia, where they returned to live. Her mother worked in Washington D.C. for the U.S. Navy, and her father operated the farm where the family resided. The eldest of five children, Powell had a younger sister, Joan Johns Cobbs, and three younger brothers: Ernest; Roderick, who served in Vietnam as a dog handler and was awarded the Bronze Star and Purple Heart; and Robert.

Powell’s uncle was the prominent Vernon Johns, an outspoken activist for civil rights. When he visited Powell and her family, he would ask the children questions about black history.[2] This motivated Powell and her siblings to study black history, and Powell, as well as her siblings, was influenced by Vernon and his outspoken nature.

Moton High School[edit]

Plaque on Virginia Capitol Grounds commemorating Barbara Johns' initiative in integrating Virginia schools

While living in Prince Edward County, Powell was educated in segregated public schools. In 1951, 16-year-old Barbara Johns was a junior at the all-black Moton High School in Farmville. Across town was another school, open exclusively to white students. The resources available to each school, and the quality of the facilities, were unequal. Powell’s school was designed and built to hold roughly 200 students, though by 1951 enrollment was twice that number.[3] According to a first-person account from Powell’s sister, Joan:

In winter the school was very cold. And a lot of times we had to put on our jackets. Now, the students that sat closest to the wood stove were very warm and the ones who sat farthest away were very cold. And I remember being cold a lot of times and sitting in the classroom with my jacket on. When it rained, we would get water through the ceiling. So there were lots of pails sitting around the classroom. And sometimes we had to raise our umbrellas to keep the water off our heads. It was a very difficult setting for trying to learn.[2]

Parents of the black students appealed to the all-white school board to provide a larger and properly equipped facility. As a stopgap measure, the board erected several tar paper shacks to handle the overflow of students.[3] Powell was frustrated with the separate and unequal facilities and decided to take action after missing her school bus and watching a bus for the white students pass her.[4] She approached a trusted teacher to voice her concerns and the teacher prompted her to take action.[5]

Organizing the strike and filing suit[edit]

Barbara Johns met with several classmates and they all agreed to help organize a student strike. On April 23 1951[6] the plan Barbara Johns initiated was put into action. The principal of the school was tricked into leaving by being told that some students were downtown causing trouble.[7] While the principal was away, Barbara Johns forged a memo from that principal telling the teachers to bring their classes to a special assembly. The teachers brought their classes and left the assembly per request.[5] She then delivered a speech to all 450 students, revealing her plans for a student strike in protest of the unequal conditions of the black and white schools. The students agreed to participate, and on that day they marched down to the county courthouse to make officials aware of the large difference in quality between the white and black schools.[8] The student leaders went in the office of School Superintendent T. J. McIlwaine who told them they were out of place. Johns had hoped that the strike would end with the county officials sympathizing with the students and building them a new school, but was instead met with indifference and struggle.[4] For the remainder of the day, students picketed the school, both inside and outside, with placards proclaiming, "We want a new school or none at all" and "Down with tar-paper shacks."[9]

On April 25th, 1951 Oliver W. Hill and Spottswood Robinson, lawyers for the NAACP, arrive in Prince Edward County to help the students of Robert Russa Moton High School, who have gone on strike. While the strike was being carried out Barbara Johns and other fellow student leaders sought legal counsel from the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). The NAACP agreed to assist as long as the suit would be for an integrated school system, and not just equal facilities.[7] A month later, the NAACP filed Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County in federal court. The court upheld segregation in Prince Edward County, and the NAACP appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Davis v. Prince Edward County, along with four other cases, became part of the case Brown v. Board of Education. As Davis was the only case in Brown initiated by student protest, it is seen by some as the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement.[10]

After the strike[edit]

For her part in the integration movement, Johns was harassed and the KKK burned a cross in her yard. Barbara Johns' parents, fearing for her safety, sent her to Montgomery, Alabama to live with her uncle.[11] After the strike, Barbara Johns lived out the rest of her life in relative peace. She married William Powell and raised five children.[12] Her commitment to education moved her to become a librarian. She served in this profession until her death in 1991.

Activist legacy[edit]

Barbara Johns' contribution to civil rights is often overlooked because she was a teenager when she made a difference. In the Pulitzer Prize-winning Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954–63, the author Taylor Branch remarks upon Davis v. Prince Edward:

The case remained muffled in white consciousness, and the schoolchild origins of the lawsuit were lost as well on nearly all Negroes outside Prince Edward County. ... The idea that non-adults of any race might play a leading role in political events had simply failed to register on anyone — except perhaps the Klansmen who burned a cross in the Johns' yard one night, and even then people thought their target might not have been Barbara but her notorious firebrand uncle.[13]

The Virginia Civil Rights Memorial was opened in 2008, with Barbara Johns and several other students prominently featured on one side with the quote "It seemed like reaching for the moon." The Library of Virginia also honored Barbara Johns Powell in 2005 by naming her one of their Virginia Women in History.[14]

Barbara Johns is now widely studied in 4th grade Virginia History, where students learn about Civil Rights and Massive Resistance.[15]

In 2010, Virginia artist Louis Briel completed a portrait of Johns, which hung for several months in the State Capitol before being permanently installed in the Robert Russa Moton Museum in Farmville. The portrait is currently on-loan and on display in Virginia’s Executive Mansion following a request by Governor McAuliffe and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe.[16]

In 2017 Governor Terry McAuliffe officially named the Office of the Attorney General after Powell, for her impact on the civil rights movement.[4]

On Aug 17, 2017 in an interview with CBS This Morning - Governor Terry McAuliffe spoke about the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA with a portrait of Barbara Johns in the background. He called the White Supremacists cowards and said:

"Over my shoulder is Barbara Johns who at 16 lead the revolt at Prince Edward County, VA. Where we had white school and black schools, where she said our schools are inferior. And she led a revolt of over 400 students in the 50's. This is what we need for [sic] leaders."[17]

Barbara Johns is also under consideration as one of 5 new names for J.E.B. Stuart HS in Fairfax County, VA.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "State building named for student whose civil rights strike led to school changes". WTVR.com. 2017-01-13. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  2. ^ a b "The History of Jim Crow". The History of Jim Crow. Archived from the original on 1 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-13. 
  3. ^ a b Richard Wormser. "The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow.Jim Crow Stories.People.Barbara Johns". The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow. PBS. Archived from the original on 8 March 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-13. 
  4. ^ a b c Schneider, Gregory (February 23, 2017). "Virginia dedicates state office building in honor of civil rights pioneer". Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  5. ^ a b HAMMERSTROM, DICK. "Column: Johns finally getting recognition she deserves". Fredericksburg.com. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  6. ^ "Farmville, Virginia – Separate is Not Equal". Separate is Not Equal Brown v. Board of Education. Smithsonian National Museuem of American History. Retrieved 2007-03-13. 
  7. ^ a b The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow, Jim Crow Stories . People . Barbara Johns | PBS
  8. ^ "African American Registry" Students Protest Virginia segregated school!". The African American Registry. The African American Registry. Archived from the original on 2006-10-27. Retrieved 2007-03-13. 
  9. ^ "Moton School Strike and Prince Edward County School Closings". www.encyclopediavirginia.org. Retrieved 2017-10-10. 
  10. ^ "Remembering Barbara Johns". Hampden Sydney College News & Events. Hampden Sydney College. Archived from the original on 2007-08-27. Retrieved 2007-03-13. 
  11. ^ The History of Jim Crow Archived 2007-03-01 at the Wayback Machine.
  12. ^ "Barbara Johns Biography". Biography. Retrieved 2007-03-13. 
  13. ^ Bill Medic. "Pro Youth Pages Black History blind spot". Pro Youth Pages. Retrieved 2008-07-12. 
  14. ^ "Virginia Women in History". Library of Virginia. Retrieved 2017-03-01. 
  15. ^ "Arlington County 4th grade Social Studies Curriculum, page 148" (PDF). October 9, 2017. 
  16. ^ webmaster@governor.virginia.gov. "Governor - Newsroom". governor.virginia.gov. Retrieved 2017-10-10. 
  17. ^ "CBS This morning interview with Gov. Terry McAuliffe". October 9, 2017. Retrieved 20 January 2018. 
  18. ^ Times, Angela Woolsey/Fairfax County. "FCPS makes some 'initial' progress in high school renaming bid". Fairfax County Times. Retrieved 2017-10-10. 

Additional reading[edit]

  • Branch, Taylor (1989). Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954–63. Touchstone. 
  • Smith, Bob (1966). They Closed Their Schools: Prince Edward County, Virginia 1951–1964. 
  • John A. Stokes with Lois Wolfe, Students on Strike: Jim Crown, Civil Rights, 'Brown,' and Me, A Memoir, Washington, DC: National Geographic Press, 2008
  • Richard Kluger,"Stick With Us," Simple Justice Vintage: 1974: 454–480.
  • Kanefield, Teri, The Girl from the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement, Harry N. Abrams, 2014

External links[edit]

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