Today the new Virginia Civil Rights Memorial was unveiled at Capitol Square.
This $2.6 million project began in 2002 with a little girl -- former Gov. Mark Warner’s youngest daughter, Eliza -- asking her mother why there were no statues in Capitol Square honoring women, or the heroes of the Civil Rights Era.
Today the art itself honored the bravery of children in 1951, when a 16-year-old Barbara Johns led a “walk-out” demonstration, protesting the outrageously separate-but-unequal conditions at Moton High School in Farmville.
Warner’s wife, Lisa Collis, spoke today of how much the new monument was about, and for, children. It was Collis who spearheaded this magnificent effort. Looking at her smiling face today, it was hard to think of how she could have done a better job.
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Barbara Johns' quote, said of the 1951 students' demonstration, was carved in granite for all children to see -- "It was like reaching for the moon."
Click here to read Michael Paul Williams on the unveiling ceremony.