S04 E20: Barbara Johns & the Robert Russa Moton Museum with Cameron Patterson

In 1951, Barbara Johns, a 16-year-old black girl – with the support of fellow students, teachers, her family, and the black community – took on Prince Edward County, Virginia in an epic battle challenging “separate but equal” education. Spoiler alert: She won.

This episode is the first in our Heroes of the Civil Rights Movement series as part of Black History Month. And we’re here to bring some Black Girl Magic from the depths of the 1950s Jim Crow Era in the U.S.

Brown vs. Board of Education was the landmark case that made the decision to desegregate the public school system. But there were several cases that were part of the push to desegregate U.S. schools. Barbara Johns was a young 16-year-old girl in VA who was unhappy with the education that she and her fellow students received. Ms. Johns organized a strike at her high school, Robert Russa Moton High, that attracted the attention of the NAACP. Her strike became one of five cases that led to the historic Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision of 1954.

In this episode, Cameron Patterson talks us through this historic journey as part of our Heroes of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement series during Black History Month.

Cameron Patterson is the executive director of the Robert Russa Moton Museum (Moton), a National Historic Landmark that preserves and constructively interprets the history of Civil Rights in Education, specifically as it relates to Prince Edward County and the leading role its citizens played in America’s transition from segregation towards integration.

The Moton Museum: https://motonmuseum.org

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