Civil Rights, Fried Fish & Family (1)

jet lag (noun): fatigue and disorientation from long flight: an internal physical disturbance experienced by air travelers on flights across different time zones. It affects the body’s internal clock, disrupting sleeping patterns, eating schedules, and body temperature.

[Encarta® World English Dictionary [North American Edition] © & (P)2007 Microsoft Corporation.]

But now I’m back! No more waking up at 4 a.m., week-long headaches, or utter bewilderment. My longest bout with jet lag has finally passed – ending after roughly two weeks. And in those two weeks, I still managed to witness an historic event, travel to North Carolina, and spend quality time with family. It was the best, worst jet lag experience ever.

On July 21st Governor Kaine unveiled the long-awaited Virginia Civil Rights Memorial on Richmond’s Capitol

The future - a diverse and foward-marching group of Americans.

The future - a diverse and foward-marching group of Americans.

Square. Until now, no Capitol Square monument has ever honored a woman or a racial minority. The historic events this memorial commemorates actually took place in my hometown of Farmville, VA.

In 1951, Barbara Johns, a 16 year-old student at Farmville’s all-black Moton High School, organized a student protest that ultimately resulted in one of the five joint cases argued as part of Brown v. Board of Education. These students, with the help of local minister, Rev. L. Francis Griffin, and Virginia NAACP attorneys, Oliver Hill and Spotswood Robinson, along with countless other courageous Virginians, changed American history. Johns, Griffin, Hill and Robinson are all prominently featured on three of the monument’s four sides. The individuals featured on the fourth side represent the future.

Even though I wasn’t alive when these historic events occurred, this memorial still has great personal significance. Rev. Griffin officiated my parents’ wedding and several members of my family were impacted by Farmville’s subsequent Massive Resistance Movement (rather than integrate, public schools were closed for five years). Seeing the memorial unveiled was one of the proudest moments in my life, but it also reminded me that the struggle for justice in America is not over…

Categories: Student Blogs, Traditions & Events

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