Farmville in Prince Edward County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
First Baptist Church
—Prince Edward County —
In April of 1951, when 456 students of Robert R. Moton High School conducted a walk-out to protest the deplorable conditions of their segregated school, the Farmville community was plunged into a social revolution. The First Baptist Church, under Rev. L. Francis Griffin, accepted the challenge of supporting the student rebellion. The church membership generally supported its pastor, although there were dissenters. The church facilities were made available to the students to hold meetings, meet with the faculty members, NAACP lawyers, parents and others representing their cause. It was in First Baptist Church that parents, students and NAACP attorneys decided to sue for integrated schools in Prince Edward County.
Despite the 1954 Supreme Court’s ruling, Brown V. Topeka Board of Education, outlawing
First Baptist Church continued to provide support to the students and the community in the Civil Rights struggle. The church was visited by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other nationally known Civil Rights leaders. Students, locked out of public schools, were able to attend classes in the church.
Rev. Griffin’s involvement in Civil Rights was done at great personal sacrifice. The white business community targeted him for reprisals. Credit was cut off along with other economic sanctions.
First Baptist Church, under the leadership of Rev L. Francis Griffin, made a great contribution to Civil Rights in education by supporting the students and the community to bring about equal access to public education to all students.
Erected by Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail®. (Marker Number 26.)
Marker series. This marker is included in the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail marker series.
Location. 37° 18.044′ N, 78° 23.593′ W. Marker is in Farmville, Virginia, in Prince Edward County. Marker is at the intersection of South Main Street (U.S. 15) and Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 100 South Main Street, Farmville VA 23901, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Main Street - Mayor J. David Crute - EACO Theatre (within shouting distance of this marker); Beulah AME Church (within shouting distance of this marker); Dr. William W. H. Thackston (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Confederate Veterans Monument (about 700 feet away); Four Sororities Founded (about 800 feet away); Longwood University (approx. 0.2 miles away); Farmville Female Seminary Association (approx. 0.2 miles away); Site of the Randolph House (approx. ¼ mile away). Click for a list of all markers in Farmville.
More about this marker. On the left are two photos with the captions:
"(Above) Rev. L.F. Griffin watches children at the training center located in the basement of the First Baptist Church."
"(Left) Martin Luther King, Jr. visited First Baptist Church in support of the community’s effort in civil rights in education."
On the right is a photo of "(Above Right) First Baptist Church as it stands today."
Photo of Rev. Griffin copyright Richmond Times Dispatch - used by permission.
Also see . . . Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail. Virginia's Retreat (Submitted on May 30, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.)
Categories. • 20th Century • African Americans • Churches, Etc. • Civil Rights • Education •
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,048 times since then and 10 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.