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Portrait of civil rights pioneer Barbara Johns unveiled at Capitol

Anita Kumar

A portrait of a civil rights pioneer Barbara Johns was unveiled at a crowded ceremony at the state Capitol Friday afternoon.

Johns, then 16, led a 1951 student strike in Prince Edward County that led to the inclusion of Virginia in the landmark Brown v. Board of Education decision outlawing school segregation.

The portrait depicts Johns on April 23, 1951, the day of the student strike. It was painted by Richmond native Louis Briel.

"It is my pleasure to unveil this portrait of a young woman who simply and gracefully formulated a dream of equality from her personal experience with inequality," Gov. Bob McDonnell said. "It will inspire a new generation of students."

The portrait will hang in the Capitol until the spring when it will be moved to the Robert Russa Moton Museum in Farmville, which tells the story of the civil rights movement in Prince Edward County.

B Johns Briel.bmp

By Anita Kumar  |  September 17, 2010; 6:00 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Robert F. McDonnell  
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I propose that the current High School in Prince Edward County be renamed to the "Corporal Jonathan T. (middle name unknown at this time) Yale / Barbara Rose Johns Memorial High School"
The High School has always been called "Prince Edward County High School"
This would honor Barbara Johns, and another Prince Edward graduate, Jonathan T. Yale, class of 2006, who was KIA in Iraq, and a Navy Cross recipient, second highest award for valor.

Posted by: mattwithcats | September 18, 2010 7:53 PM | Report abuse

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