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Civil rights leader Barbara Johns exhibit unveiled in AG office

RICHMOND, Va. — Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares unveiled a new portrait and memorial exhibit in his office Wednesday honoring civil rights icon Barbara Johns.

Johns was just 16 when he made history as a civil rights leader in Prince Edward County. He led a student strike on April 23, 1951 to protest conditions at the all-black Robert Russa Moton High School in Farmville.

Her persistence eventually garnered the support of NAACP attorneys Spottswood Robinson and Oliver Hill to champion her cause and reach out to students and the community, according to the Moton Museum.

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Barbara Johns exhibit at the Attorney General’s Office

The attorneys filed a lawsuit in federal court in Richmond. The case was called Davis v. Prince Edward and, in 1954, the case became one of five cases the United States Supreme Court heard in Brown v. Topeka Board of Education when it declared segregation unconstitutional.

The Johns family and Governor Glenn Youngkin were in attendance for the dedication.

Today we celebrated the office building’s namesake and the legacy of Barbara Johns, a courageous 16-year-old girl who exemplified the power of one.

I was honored to be joined by Barbara’s family at the opening of her permanent exhibit in the atrium of our building. #BlackHistoryMonth pic.twitter.com/AELNzUCUNZ

— Jason Miyares (@JasonMiyaresVA) February 15, 2023

An effort is underway to place a statue of Johns in the United States Capitol’s Statuary Hall as early as next year.

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