“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Farmville in Prince Edward County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

First Baptist Church

Farmville, Virginia


—Prince Edward County —

First Baptist Church CRIEHT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 29, 2010
1. First Baptist Church CRIEHT Marker
Inscription. The First Baptist Church was organized in 1866 as an outgrowth of the predominantly white Farmville Baptist Church. In 1949, following the death of the Rev. C. H. Griffin, the Church voted unanimously to call his son, L. Francis Griffin, as pastor. First Baptist Church did not know the young Rev. Griffin had already received a call to pastor a large, northern church with a very promising future, but it did not take long for the young preacher to decide that his home church needed his services much more than the other.

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
Left Panel image. Click for full size.
2. Left Panel
(Top) Rev. L.F. Griffin; (Bottom) Martin Luther King, Jr. at First Baptist Church.
segregation in public education, the fight in Farmville was not over. Prince Edward County closed its public schools in 1959 to avoid integration.

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
First Baptist Church CRIEHT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 29, 2010
3. First Baptist Church CRIEHT Marker
4th Street, on the right when traveling north on South Main Street. Touch 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 (was approx. 0.2 miles away but has been reported missing. ); Farmville Female Seminary Association (approx. 0.2 miles away); Site of the Randolph House (approx. ¼ mile away). Touch for a list and map 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
First Baptist Church (S Main St & 4th St) image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 29, 2010
4. First Baptist Church (S Main St & 4th St)
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 CenturyAfrican AmericansChurches & ReligionCivil RightsEducation
Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail® Map image. Click for full size.
5. Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail® Map
Appomattox County
1. Winonah Camp/Mozella Price Home
2. Carver-Price School
3. Education in 1800's Rural Virginia

Buckingham County
4. One-Room Schoolhouse
5. Carter G. Woodson Birthplace

Cumberland County
6. Hamilton High School
7. Rosenwald School at Cartersville
8. Jackson Davis

Amelia County
9. Russell Grove Presbyterian Church and School
10. Mrs. Samantha Jane Neil

Chesterfield County
11. Virginia State University

12. Earliest Known Public High School for African Americans in Virginia
13. McKenney Library
14. The Peabody-Williams School

Dinwiddie County
15. Southside Virginia Training Center
16. Rocky Branch School
17. Early Education in Dinwiddie County

Nottoway County
18. Blackstone Female Institute
19. Mt. Nebo Church
20. Ingleside Training Institute

Lunenburg County
21. The People's Community Center
22. St. Matthew's Lutheran Church Christian Day School

Prince Edward County
23. Prince Edward County Public Schools
24. R. R. Moton High School
25. Farmville Female Seminary Association
26. First Baptist Church
27. Beulah AME Church
28. Hampden-Sydney College

Charlotte County
29. Southside Virginia Community College - John H. Daniel Campus
30. Charlotte County Library
31. Salem School

Halifax County
32. Meadville Community Center
33. Mary M. Bethune High School
34. Washington-Coleman Elementary School
35. Mizpah Church

Mecklenburg County
36. Thyne Institute
37. Boydton Academic and Bible Institute

Brunswick County
38. Southside Virginia Community College - Christanna Campus
39. Saint Paul's College
40. Hospital and School of the Good Shepherd
41. Fort Christanna
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on May 30, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,130 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on May 30, 2010, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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