President Joe Biden has signed into a law a bill that designates multiple sites associated with the landmark Brown v. Board of Education school desegration decision as National Park Service Affiliated Areas.
Among those is the former R.R. Moton High School in Farmville — now the Moton Museum — that was the site of a student walkout in 1951. The lawsuit that grew out of that case was eventually merged with others into what was officially styled Brown v. Board of Education. The Farmville site will still be locally managed but will be declared “affiliated” with the Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Site in Kansas. Joining it will be sites in Delaware, South Carolina and the District of Columbia, which also had cases merged into Brown. The law directs the U.S. Department of Interior to develop a management plan for all the sites within two years.
The bill unanimously passed the Senate and the House of Representatives in April. U.S. Senators Chris Coons, D-Delaware, and Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, led the Senate version of the bill. Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-South Carolina, led companion legislation in the House of Representatives.
In a statement, Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, both D-Virginia, said: “We’re excited our legislation to commemorate the Moton Museum in Farmville and other historic sites associated with the Brown v. Board of Education decision was signed into law today by President Biden. This bill will preserve the site and help ensure future generations can learn about its significance, as well as the history of Barbara Johns, who led her classmates in a protest against school segregation at the Moton School.”
Earlier this year, Warner and Kaine announced $500,000 in federal funding for the Moton Museum to “upgrade the museum’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system, which is almost two decades old and functions inconsistently.”