Barbara Johns, ¡Presente!
The media and the history books tell us that the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s began with the Supreme Court's "Brown v Board of Education" decision in 1954. But we of the Freedom Movement know that beginning in 1951 courageous African-Americans in five different states risked life, home, and job to organize their communities and bring those five cases directly challenging segregation into the courts.
We also know that the Freedom Movement was in large part led and driven by the courage and energy of young people. One of the five "Brown" cases was the direct result of Barbara Johns (16) organizing a hugely successful Student Strike at Moton High against Jim Crow education and segregation in Prince Edward County VA — a defiant action by high school kids that helped change the face of America.
Which is why, in her honor, this CRMVet website arbitrarily chose 1951 as the start date of our phase of the long struggle for freedom, justice and equality.
On May 8, 2019 the NY Times published Overlooked No More: Barbara Johns, Who Defied Segregation in Schools a long-delayed (but well-deserved) obituary of Barbara Johns.