April 23, 1951
A 16-year-old student, Barbara Rose Johns, covertly organized a student general strike at RR Moton High School, an all-black high school in Farmville, Virginia, founded in 1923. The school did not have a gymnasium, cafeteria or teachers’ restrooms. Teachers and students did not have desks or blackboards, and due to overcrowding, some students had to take classes in a decrepit school bus parked outside the main school building. . She forged notes to teachers telling them to bring their students to the auditorium for a special announcement. When the school’s students showed up, Johns took the stage and persuaded the school to strike to protest poor school conditions. Over 450 walked out and marched to the homes of members of the school board, who refused to see them. Thus began a two-week protest, which led to a court case where Virginia civil rights lawyers Oliver Hill and Spottswood Robinson brought suit against the school board. Davis v. County School Board of Prince Edward County was eventually one of the four cases combined into Brown v. Board of Education, the famous case in which the U.S. Supreme Court, in 1954, officially overturned racial segregation in U.S. public schools.

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