Barbara Johns


On April 23, 1951, Barbara Johns, a 16 year-old high school girl in Prince Edward County, Virginia, led her classmates in a strike to protest the substandard conditions at Robert Russa Moton High School. Her idealism, planning, and persistence ultimately garnered the support of NAACP lawyers Spottswood Robinson and Oliver Hill to take up her cause and the cause of more equitable conditions for Moton High School. This case was one of five that eventually went all the way to the Supreme court as the Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954 which overturned ‘separate but equal’ in the school system.

Barbara R. Johns – 3 minute story

If you want more background to the student strike and how it impacted the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, please watch the video below.

Barbara Johns Civil Rights Leader

NY Times Obituary, Overlooked No More: Barbara Johns, Who Defied Segregation in Schools

The Atlantic, The Forgotten School in Brown vs. Board of Education