Memorial Services & Events To Kick Off April Celebrations

Sunday, April 17 will be the first day of a week-long celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Robert Russa Moton High School Student Strike, and grand opening of the Museum’s first phase of permanent exhibits. This will be an exciting and inspirational time for all who attend, so make sure not to miss these activities.


On Sunday, April 17th, special memorial church services will be held at both Triumph Baptist Church and First Baptist Church in Farmville,Virginia. These services will help attendees understand the integral part that faith played in the struggles and successes of the Civil Rights movement, and honor the memories of those who worked with such determination to bring about change. Triumph Baptist Church and First Baptist Church were the home churches of Barbara Johns and the Reverend L. Francis Griffin, respectively. Moton Museum Board Members, Joy Speakes and Chuckie Reid are members of these congregations today, and are spearheading efforts to bring these special services to the community.

Beginning at Triumph Baptist Church, there will be a morning service from 11:00 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. with a moving sermon delivered by Reverend James Morris. According to Joy Speakes, “Reverend Morris will have regular Palm Sunday service, followed immediately with a speaker to commemorate Barbara Johns. We will proceed from church to the grave site and lay a wreath on in her honor.” A yet to be announced guest speaker will officiate at the wreath laying ceremony.

From 1:00 p.m. to 1:15 p.m., there will be a formal wreath laying ceremony at the grave of Reverend L. Francis Griffin at Odd Fellows Cemetery. A guest speaker (to be announced) will share thoughts about Rev. Griffin and his pivotal role in Civil Rights history.

Afternoon services will commence at 3pm at First Baptist Church, featuring a guest speaker and special musical entertainment by Beatrice Finney and the Community Choir. The program will also include a presentation of a plaque to the Johns and Griffin families. At 4:00 p.m., attendees will learn from town, county, schools, and the NAACP officials about the roles Barbara Johns and Rev. Griffin played in the Civil Rights movement. Reverend James Ashton will moderate this portion of the program.

Dinner will follow in the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall at 5:00 p.m.. The meal will be catered by E.L. Catering, and Chuckie Reid is the contact for the dinner.

To learn more about these special activities, and how you may participate, contact Patrice Carter with the Robert Russa Moton Museum at patrice.carter@motonmuseum.org, or (434) 315-8775, extension 3.