State building named for Civil Rights icon Barbara Johns

State building named for Civil Rights icon Barbara Johns

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A state office building now bears the name of Civil Rights icon Barbara Johns.

In 1951, Johns led a high school walkout in Prince Edward protesting the inequality of segregated schools. She was also part of the lawsuit that became part of the Brown v. Board of Education case that eventually ended school segregation.

"Barbara Johns didn't simply lead her classmates in a protest of inequitable schools. She led a group of young people and an entire nation to realize that courage was blind to age and race, and that real change requires action," Governor Terry McAuliffe said at a ceremony on Thursday. "The walkout she led kicked off an extraordinary chain of events that eventually invalidated the deception of 'separate but equal.' Having her name placed among the other giants in Virginia and American history who are celebrated on Capitol Square is a fitting tribute to her legacy."

The building with Johns' name was originally constructed at Hotel Richmond and was one of the city's first high rise buildings during the first half of the 20th century.

"The renovation of this iconic building is the perfect marriage of historic preservation and modern sustainability principles," said Chris Beschler, director of the Department of General Services (DGS). "The Barbara Johns Building is the latest in a series of Capitol Square building rehabilitations where we were able to provide a contemporary space for the government to conduct business while also honoring the structure's place in Virginia's history."

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